Many Black women have been using hair relaxers since they were children, either making regular visits to the salon for more-effective and stronger lye-based treatments, or through the use of home hair relaxer kits, which typically do not contain lye. Unfortunately, a blockbuster new study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health, published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute discovered that the use of chemical hair relaxers is linked to a higher risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer.
If you have used hair relaxers and have been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, an experienced product liability lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for the profound expenses and impacts that are associated with this condition. We can also tell you about the importance of having an attorney to assist you as you navigate the claims process, and the types of services our legal team is prepared to offer.
- Why Trust Dolman With Your Hair Relaxer Cancer Claim?
- What Is Endometrial Cancer?
- How Are Hair Relaxers Linked to an Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer?
- Seeking Compensation through a Product Liability Claim
- Schedule A Free Consultation
- Other Challenges in the Product Liability Claims Process
- The Services Your Attorney Can Provide in the Claims Process
- If You Used Hair Relaxers and Now You Have Cancer, Contact Us
Why Trust Dolman With Your Hair Relaxer Cancer Claim?
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers. PA is a national law firm that has garnered a reputation with both its clients and the legal community as having the research, experience, and skill to handle even the biggest cases.
The Dolman Law Group works with local counsel in any jurisdiction outside Florida for the purpose of filing lawsuits in jurisdictions wherein we are not licensed. Thus, we will follow each State's ethical rules to ensure a local attorney is involved. In spite of having the network and resources of a big firm, the experienced Dolman legal team also prides itself on offering the customer service of a small firm, earning the trust of their clients with their attention to detail, quick responses, and personal touches.
We want to help you tell your story.
What Is Endometrial Cancer?
As noted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, endometrial cancer is the most common type of gynecologic cancer (cancer that originates in the female reproductive organs). Endometrial cancer is the progressive development of cancerous cells in the lining of the uterus, which is known as the endometrium. The risk of developing this cancer is increased in those that are overweight, eat a diet high in animal fat, have a family history of endometrial, ovarian, or colon cancers, experienced early menstruation (before age 12) or late menopause.
Around 90 percent of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer have abnormal vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms that can be experienced include postmenopausal bleeding, pain during intercourse or urination, and a pain or mass in the pelvic area. As with nearly all types of cancer, early diagnosis and treatment of endometrial cancer provides the best chance at a positive outcome.
The Financial and Psychological Impacts of Endometrial Cancer
As explained by the American Cancer Society, surgery is the first treatment for almost all women diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and the operation generally consists of removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. If the cancer is in a more advanced stage, the patient will likely also have additional treatments, which can include radiation and chemotherapy. However, these treatments come with significant financial and psychological costs. The surgery alone can cost several thousand dollars, with additional costs incurred for the surgeon's fees, prescription medication, follow-up care from a physician, and other fees.
The provision of chemotherapy to a person without health insurance costs between $10,000-$200,000, depending on the type of cancer that is being treated, the stage of the disease, the duration of the treatment, and the cost of living in the area where the patient is receiving the treatment.
In addition to the costs of treatment, most patients experience wage loss while they're being treated for endometrial cancer, and require assistance in performing household chores. Any type of cancer presents a number of unknowns, such as whether the cancer will return, or whether the patient can survive the disease. These unknowns, along with the discomfort of treatment, can have a profound impact on the patient's quality of life.
How Are Hair Relaxers Linked to an Increased Risk of Endometrial Cancer?
In the NIH study, researchers used data from more than 33,000 women who were participating in a larger study about women's health risks. Upon enrolling in the study, the women were asked to answer questions about the different types of hair products they used in the last year, including dyes, straighteners, and relaxers., permanents, and body waves.
It was discovered that after 11 years, the women who had answered that they had used hair straightening products (relaxers) were nearly twice as likely to have developed uterine cancer than those who had not. About 60 percent of the women who answered that they had used relaxers self-identified as Black. While there was no increased risk of developing cancer based on race, Black women are at greater risk simply because they are more likely to use the products.
According to Dr. Alexandra While, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Safety, in an article published in Allure, the increased risk is likely a result of hormonal disruption caused by a number of chemicals -- such as phthalates, parabens, cyclosiloxanes -- in the products that mimic estrogen and cause hormone imbalances that create a healthy breeding ground for abnormal cells. Additionally, many of these chemical relaxers contain formaldehyde and other carcinogens that can enter the bloodstream through the scalp.
Seeking Compensation through a Product Liability Claim
Manufacturers of products such as salon-formula and at-home hair relaxers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products are reasonably safe when used as instructed, that instructions for use are included with the product, and that consumers understand the risks associated with using it.
When a manufacturer fails to protect consumers and the product results in harm, the consumer has a right to seek compensation for the expenses and psychological impacts they incurred as a result of that harm. This type of case is considered a product liability claim, and it falls under the wide umbrella of cases that are governed by personal injury law.
Product liability claims are different from other types of personal injury claims for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most notable reason is that these claims often become part of a larger claim made up of many cases of consumers being injured by the same product for the same reason, known as mass tort litigation.
Mass tort litigation involves a number of claimants with factually similar claims sharing the same lawyer representation and evidence. When a mass tort lawyer is looking for claimants to join the lawsuit involving a product that has been linked to an increased risk, they will determine eligibility based on medical and other documentation that shows a diagnosis of cancer, as well as regular or frequent use of the product believed to have caused the disease.
Recently, a motion was filed by a number of hair relaxer claimants to have their claims consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL). This is a type of mass tort case in which factually similar claims are enjoined for the early phase of the legal process, allowing them to use the same witness testimony and legal representation. After the discovery phase of the process is complete, if a settlement has not been reached with the claimants, the cases will again be separated and returned to their original jurisdiction to be tried or settled separately.
Other Challenges in the Product Liability Claims Process
Product liability claims are generally made against large -- often even multinational -- corporations. These corporations are protected by high powered insurers and lawyers who are tasked with protecting their client (and the client's reputation) from the impact of mass tort claims stating that their products are dangerous. These are highly skilled professionals who provide a distinct advantage for their clients against claimants who are attempting to navigate the process without the assistance of the attorney.
Product liability claims are also often difficult to prove, particularly when they involve cancer and the need to link the type of cancer incurred with a specific product. A legal team works to find studies, documentation, and even testimony of experts to establish this link.
Affording an Experienced Legal Team
Having an attorney with extensive experience in product liability claims and mass tort litigation is crucial to the success of a hair relaxer endometrial cancer claim. However, many potential claimants are discouraged by the idea of hiring such an attorney because they don't think they can afford the attorney's fees. Fortunately, because product liability claims involve personal injury, the lawyers who handle these types of cases are permitted to bill their clients through a contingency fee.
A contingency fee means that the attorney's fees are "contingent" on their ability to garner compensation for your claim. If your claim is not compensated, you do not owe your attorney for the work they performed on your case. However, if compensation is received, a percentage of that compensation will be used as payment for your legal team. The contingent fee is agreed on before the attorney begins working on the case, and the fees vary on how in-depth the case is, with settlements generally commanding a lower percentage than trial.
The Services Your Attorney Can Provide in the Claims Process
An experienced product liability lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA brings a needed understanding of the law and the claims process that you need to stand up against the manufacturers of dangerous products and the insurers and lawyers that represent them. One of the most important tasks of your product liability lawyer is to provide the information you need to make important decisions about your claim, such as accepting a settlement or joining a mass tort.
When you begin working with an attorney on your hair relaxer claim, they will conduct a thorough investigation of the details of your claim to begin establishing the necessary link between your use of hair relaxers and a diagnosis of endometrial cancer. They will also be investigating to determine the manufacturer of the type of product you used, and the insurance resources of that manufacturer that can be accessed to compensate your claim.
Your lawyer will help you to join an existing mass tort, help you file an individual claim against the at-fault manufacturer, or -- in some cases, if they have enough clients with factually similar claims, they can even begin a new mass tort. They will value your claim based on the psychological impacts and financial costs of the harm you incurred as a result of the product, and will communicate with the company or their insurer on your behalf in order to negotiate a settlement.
In addition to negotiating a settlement for your claim, they will also prepare your case for trial, filing your complaint in court and gathering the evidence necessary to prove your claim in court. If a settlement has not been reached by the time your case goes to trial, your attorney will present your claim before a judge or jury so that they can decide on matters of litigation and compensation.
If You Used Hair Relaxers and Now You Have Cancer, Contact Us
Many women have used hair relaxers as part of their regular beauty routine for years, or even decades. The new study by the NIH reveals that the risk of uterine cancer is nearly doubled for these women as a result of the use of dangerous chemicals in these products that mimic estrogen and lead to cancer-causing hormonal imbalances.
If you've been diagnosed with endometrial cancer after being a regular user of hair relaxer products, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is ready to explore your legal options with you, and tell you about the services we can provide to assist you as you seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your diagnosis.