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Suspected Link Testicular Cancer and Pot Smoking

Posted by Application Administrator
Monday, February 09, 2009 2:48 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Testicular Cancer, Cancer, Marijuana, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Researchers look into the link between testicular cancer and smoking pot.  



IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ cannibas / author: Pauk


A new study suggests that long-term marijuana use may increase a man’s chances of developing testicular cancer.  Researchers stress that the link is still a “hypothesis” and needs to be studied further. 

Published in the journal, Cancer, a team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle interviewed 369 men with testicular cancer ranging in age from 18 to 44.  This group was compared to nearly 1,000 men, also living in the Puget Sound area of Seattle who did not have cancer.

More than one quarter (26 percent) of the testicular cancer patients smoked marijuana.  Among that group, 15 percent smoked pot daily or weekly. 20 percent who did not have cancer, were regular users, either daily or weekly.

Marijuana use was more closely associated with nonseminoma testicular cancer, a faster growing testicular malignancy that generally strikes early in life between the ages 20 and 35.

Seminoma is the more common yet slower growing testicular cancer striking men in their 30s and 40s.   The risk was particularly elevated among those who smoked pot at least weekly or had smoked since adolescence.

Having an undescended testicle is a known risk factor for testicular cancer, which is believes to get started in early fetal life. Male infertility and a decrease in semen quality is also linked to testicular cancer. 

While CNN reports that seminomas have increased 64 percent, nonseminoma rates have risen 24 percent from 1973 to 1988. 

The chance of developing testicular cancer is about 1 in 300 over a man’s lifetime. Death from the disease is reported to be one in 5,000. Environmental medicine is increasingly looking at plastics or phthalate use in our environment and the impact on reproductive health including testicular cancer.

Testicular germ cell tumors have been increasing over the last six decades, the authors suggest.  

This study is the first one to suggest a man’s lifestyle or environmental risks are associated with marijuana use, though researchers emphasize that more research is needed.

Stephen Schwartz, an epidemiologist at Fred Hutchinson, says in a statement,   "We need to conduct additional research to see whether the association can be observed in other populations, and whether measurement of molecular markers connected to the pathways through which marijuana could influence testicular cancer development helps clarify any association that exists," he said.  #

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