CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Nancy Wright has some advice for people who use baby powder.
“If you’re using a product that could potentially kill you, stop using it,” she said.
Wright told Denver7 that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year and she blames Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
Twenty-two women made the same claim in a lawsuit filed in St. Louis, alleging that the manufacturer knew their talc contained traces of asbestos.
They, or their families, were recently awarded $4.7 billion in damages.
In an online statement, Johnson & Johnson said it was deeply disappointed in the verdict, and that it remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer.
Still, 9,000 other people have claims pending against Johnson & Johnson.
Wright is one of them.
She said she wants people to know it’s not a frivolous lawsuit.
“I want people to know what I experienced,” she said.
“I started experiencing some strange symptoms…a sense of fullness in my abdomen and a persistent cough,” she said. “I’m a very healthy person, so I went and got some x-rays and blood work and nothing was showing up. My doctor then recommended a cat scan.”
Wright added, “The cat scan showed a huge double-fisted sized mass on my left ovary.”
The Centennial resident said she had a top-notch surgeon who decided to remove the ovary, but when he did so, “he could see I had tumors everywhere in my abdomen.”
“He had to do a full hysterectomy and bowel rescission,” she added. “Two major surgeries at the same time.”
Wright said the pathology report was eye-opening.
“Basically, it was determined that there was debris or fibers in my ovarian tissue, consistent with what they have been finding in other women, who have had ovarian cancer, as a result of using baby powder for hygiene purposes.
Wright underwent six chemo treatments. She said she didn’t get sick from the chemo, but did experience weakened legs, numbness, and ringing in her ears.
She said she also lost her hair.
“It was embarrassing,” she said, “so I got some wigs.”
During her second round of chemo, she received a phone call from her boss saying they were eliminating her job.
She said she’s burned through most of her savings and can’t afford to pay rent, so she’s packing her belongings, and is getting ready to move out of the apartment she has called home for 19 years.
“It’s just hard,” she said. “I know it’s a direct result of getting sick and losing my job.”
Wright said she’s now feeling much better, and is hunting for a new job.
“They won’t tell me I’m cancer-free until I have had clean scans for five years,” she said, but I feel good.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe account https://www.gofundme.com/nancy-wrights-ovarian-cancer-fund has been set up to help her with expenses.
Fix the problem
Wright said she wants Johnson and Johnson to fix the problem.
“Don’t blow us off,” she said. “I’m not saying take it off the market forever, but fix it.”
In the meantime, she’s going to proceed with her case against the firm.
“It may never get settled,” she said. “A lot of women may die before it gets settled. We don’t know. But I can’t not purse this because this affected my life.”