They were diagnosed with uterine cancer and tumors. Now they're suing the makers of chemical hair straighteners.
Three years ago, Rhonda Terrell was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer that has since spread to her abdomen and liver.
Three years ago, Rhonda Terrell was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer that has since spread to her abdomen and liver. She underwent a radical hysterectomy — the removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes — and tried to come to terms with the way the disease had altered her life.
“I don’t like to look at the survival rates,” Terrell said through tears. “Cancer is such a painful, painful, painful condition.”
Terrell is one of four Black women, three of whom spoke to NBC News exclusively, who have filed federal lawsuits against L’Oréal and other companies, alleging that chemicals in the companies’ hair products caused them to develop uterine cancer or other severe health effects. The lawsuits follow the release last month of a study by the National Institutes of Health that found that women who reported frequent use of hair straightening products — defined as more than four times in the previous year — were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.
According to the lawsuits, three of the women have had a hysterectomy — one of them at age 28.
Terrell, 55, of Guin, Alabama, said she began relaxing her hair at age 8 and stopped in her late 30s or early 40s. She has uterine carcinosarcoma and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and was in remission for a little over two years before the cancer returned in July on her liver and abdomen, according to an interview and her lawsuit. She is undergoing chemotherapy.