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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Testicular Cancer Risk Linked To Marijuana Use

New study links marijuana use to testicular cancer

On September 10, 2012, a new study was published in the journal Cancer.  The basic finding is this: Young men have a higher risk of testicular cancer if they use marijuana. This study adds to the results of previous studies that have found that marijuana use may have lasting effects on men's overall health, including fertility.

About the study...

This study was conducted at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine located in Los Angeles, CA.  The study's author was Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventive medicine. They decided to do the study because testicular cancer is on the rise and they wanted to zero in on young men's habits that could account for the increased risk.
  • 455 Californian men of basically the same age group were studied, 163 were already diagnosed with testicular cancer, while 292 men were healthy.
  • Researchers used interviews to seek information about their recreational drug use.
  • Those that used marijuana had double the risk of testicular tumors, compared to those who did not use marijuana.
  • The diagnosed testicular cancers tended to be faster-growing and more difficult to treat.

ABC News Good Morning America video report

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

What else should be researched 

Researchers do admit that they don't yet understand how marijuana affects the risk of this cancer type. Testosterone would seem to play a key role, as according to Cortessis: "We know testosterone is an important regulator of testes development and function.It may be that marijuana use disrupts this regulation in a way that makes the testes much more vulnerable to cancer."

Researchers also suspect that using marijuana during puberty may make men particularly more vulnerable and researchers are not sure how other habits like drinking and using other drugs along with marijuana may impact their risk of testicular cancer.

More studies will be conducted, in the meantime any new information, like what this study offers, should not be dismissed.

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