Smoking marijuana may increase a man’s risk for testicular cancer.
A new study found that men who had smoked marijuana were twice as likely to get an aggressive form of the disease. But why?
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Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men under age 45. It’s also on the rise, says Scott Eggener, MD, a cancer surgeon at the University of Chicago who has studied the trend.
“No one really knows why,” he says. “Everyone suspects an environmental exposure, but it’s difficult if not impossible to prove.”
A study released earlier this year showed marijuana use is also up, with 1 in 10 teens now smoking pot at least 20 times a month.
Not the First Time
The new study, published in the journal Cancer, is the third in recent years to link marijuana use to the development of testicular cancer.
It compared 163 men with testicular cancer to 292 healthy men who were about the same age and race. All the men in the study were between age 18 and 36 when they were diagnosed.
Men who said they had ever smoked marijuana had more than twice the risk of aggressive testicular tumors, compared to men who did not smoke marijuana.
That was true even after researchers accounted for other things known to affect a man’s risk, like having an undescended testicle.
Oddly enough, men who reported using cocaine had about half the risk of nonusers.