According to a new study, infertile men, due to non-production of sperms, have higher risk than average of having the cancer developed.
The researchers came to know that over 2000 men having fertility issues, those without any production of sperms had increased risk of having cancer developed over next 6 years.
These men were in their youth when going into study, 36 being the average age among them, so some did develop the cancer. In the men having no sperms, called as azoospermia, only over 2% got diagnosed with the disease.
Even then, their risk happened to be 3 times higher compared to an average man of their age.
Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a lead researcher and urology’s assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine said that they had cancer risk in a man around ten years.
This study, published in journal named Fertility and Sterility on 20th June, said that around 15% of the infertile men were found azoospermic.
This is not 1st work that connects infertility of males to risk of cancer, though it suggests link might be concentrated in the men with most severe infertility type.
Eisenberg said that suggests it isn’t infertility of male in general, rather it is azoospermia particularly.
That’s important information, according to an expert at male infertility who isn’t involved in this study. If link between cancer and male infertility is real, one could expect that much severe infertility will be connected to higher cancer risk, according to Dr. Thomas Walsh, from University of Washington, Seattle.
He thinks that it is doubtful that anyone will say infertility causes cancer. Though, Eisenberg and Walsh himself said that it was possible that there are some common factors of genetics that contribute to greater cancer vulnerability and azoospermia.
Eisenberg said that when a man having azoospermia is seen, they usually assume there is some genetic cause and there are some specific gene mutations tied already to this condition, though minority of the men with azoospermia seem to have at least one of these when they get tested. So, Eisenberg thinks there are probably other unknown defects of genes involved in the condition azoospermia.
One other expert at infertility was cautious regarding interpretation off findings due to the small figures: only ten cancer cases in 451 men having azoospermia, 19 cases in around 1800 men having infertility of other types.
The idea about genetic abnormalities underlying both cancer risk and azoospermia has merit, according to NYU Langone Medical Center’s Dr. Frederick Licciardi. Though, according to him, he doesn’t think even this evidence in paper s sufficient to bolster the theory.
One more question tends to be whether azoospermia only is linked to specific cancers. The past studies, also including the one that Walsh worked over, have found infertile men demonstrate higher risk than average, of the testicular cancer, which is a disease highly curable, diagnosed mostly in the young men.
Out of the ten cancers found in the azoospermic men during the study, 2 happened to be testicular tumors. Others included prostate cancer, melanoma, brain cancer and lymphoma.
According to Eisenberg, there were very few cases regarding each cancer for seeing whether the men having azoospermia had certain risk related to any of cancer’s type.
He recommended the men with this condition to be well aware of possible risk as well as to pay some attention to their health and that included maintaining healthy lifestyle and seeing their doctor for checkup regularly.
Licciardi also agreed to this, saying that any man, whether who has normal or low sperm count, should have physical examinations regularly.
Walsh said that much research is required to dig in the connection that is between cancer and male infertility, including studies which follow the men over long time period since rate of cancer climbed with age, along with basic research of lab to try and uncover reasons for such link.