Overview: Marijuana Research on Testicular Cancer
In September, 2012, the University of Southern California discovered a critical link between recreational marijuana use and a high risk of men developing subtypes of testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society has concurred with these findings and a support is effect on testicular cells in young male patients. Additional facts have borne out, that young men who have smoked marijuana before, are twice as likely to develop mixed germ cell tumors.
Subtypes of Testicular Cancer
Unfortunately, testicular cancer is a common cancer that occurs in young men between the ages of 15 to 45 years of age. Testicular cancer cases have risen recently in the last few years, with researchers looking at exposures to environmental causes. The subtypes of testicular cancer are known as “non-seminoma” and mixed germ cell tumors. Both of these subtypes have been linked with marijuana use, where seminoma carries a bad prognosis. Continued research and clinical studies are being conducted to determine just how marijuana might cause testicular cancer. Researchers admit that they do not understand how marijuana triggers carcinogenesis in the testis; they just know that cancerous cells act through the cellular networks in the end cannabinoid system, which is a part of making sperm cells.
Marijuana And Developing Testicular Cancer - A link to Get Alert
As previously stated, young men are the at risk group that is at risk of developing cancerous tumors. Clinicians are asking recreational users of marijuana to begin paying attention to changes in their testicles. Also, young men should let their personal physicians know that they use marijuana regularly, so that their healthcare providers can help monitor their sexual health. The University of Southern California found that the data they collected reflected that men within their survey and analysis had used recreational marijuana more than once per week. A critical alert is going out to all young men and healthcare providers who live in the 17 states where medicinal marijuana is legal, including California, despite being illegal for medical use at a federal level. Researchers state that this alert is to be seriously considered for both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis.
Future Health Impact for Men
Even though researchers have discovered a link between marijuana and testicular cancer, the rate of non-seminoma cancer is low, but the lifetime risk of even a 1% chance is alarming. This broad range alert is being taken seriously and urgently because some men who can develop testicular germ cell tumors can recover, but there are still a small percentage of men who won't. Also, the treatments in fighting germ cell tumors involve extensive radiation and chemotherapy. Marijuana can have long term impact on poor sexual performance of men and their overall health, like fertility or the removal of the affected testis.
Self-Exams Are Necessary
Yes, some medical professionals in those states that legalized marijuana do not agree with the findings of the University of Southern California, touting the cancer fighting properties of cannabis usage. However, earlier in 2012, a government released study showed that marijuana use has become high among teenagers. According to the National Cancer Institute, there isn't a routine screening test for detecting testicular cancer. This cancer is generally found due to men examining their own bodies or through a regular physical exam for men. Men should examine their scrotum area and testicles for signs that include:
- Enlargement of a testicle
- Significant loss of size in one of the testicles
- Feeling of heavy feeling in the scrotum
- Dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin
- Sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
Previous Marijuana/Testicular Cancer Study
The University of California's Keck School of Medicine was not the first to realize a link between marijuana and testicular cancer in young men. In 2009 the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, researchers intimated a link in young men that ingested marijuana almost daily. The Keck researchers discovered low testosterone, low sperm count, and in some cases impotency, as a result of frequent marijuana use.
To smoke or not to smoke, is the question that is being left in the hands of young men. Even though the University's studies are somewhat limited, researchers state that young men could be taking a chance with their future health if they continue to use marijuana in a recreational setting, with testicular cancer being one of the consequences. The reproductive system of men naturally produces a cannabinoid style chemical that has been shown to protect the body against cancer tumors, but the research also identified that other marijuana properties interferes with this protective chemical, weakening its actions.