According to a key study released on Monday, those who use hair-straightening treatments repeatedly may have a markedly increased chance of acquiring uterine cancer.

The study’s lead author, Alexandra White of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Safety (NIEHS), said in a statement: “We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70, but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%.

“However, it’s critical to consider the context of this knowledge. According to her, uterine cancer is a rather uncommon form of the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), uterine cancer continues to be the most prevalent gynecologic cancer in the United States, with rates growing, particularly among Black women.

33,947 racially varied women between the ages of 35 and 74 were followed by researchers for an average of approximately 11 years. Uterine cancer struck 378 women at the time.

After taking into consideration the participants’ other risk factors, researchers found that women who used straightening products more than four times in the previous year had more than 2.5 times greater odds of having uterine cancer.

Less frequent straightener usage during the previous year was also linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer, but this association was not statistically significant, suggesting that it might have simply been a coincidence.

In the research, there was no difference in the relationship between uterine cancer risk and race. However, “these findings may be even more significant for them because Black women use hair straightening or relaxer products more often and tend to commence use at younger ages than other races and ethnicities,” Che-Jung Chang of NIEHS stated in a statement.

The brands or contents of the hair products used by study participants were not gathered by the researchers. However, they pointed out in the research that a number of chemicals, including parabens, bisphenol A, metals, and formaldehyde, that have been discovered in straighteners may contribute to the elevated risk of uterine cancer and that some of these chemicals have endocrine-disrupting capabilities.

Due to the possibility for greater absorption via the scalp, which burns and lesions brought on by straighteners might intensify; chemical exposure from hair products like straighteners could be more worrying than that from other personal care items.

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