September 11, 2012- A new study has shown that smoking marijuana at a young age increases the risk of developing testicular cancer.
The study, published in the scientific journal Cancer, looked at 455 young men from California who admitted to having previously smoked pot. The results showed that these men were twice as likely to develop and be diagnosed with the most common form of testicular cancer, testicular germ cell tumours. The study was initially aimed at attempting to find why testicular cancer has been on the rise. Led by Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventative medicine as the University of California, the researchers assessed 163 men already diagnosed with testicular cancer and 292 healthy men with the same age.
In addition with the tumours being twice as more likely, the tumours appeared to be growing at a faster rate and also be more difficult to treat. The research also shows that men’s general health and fertility is affected by the smoking of marijuana. “We now have three studies connecting marijuana use to testicular cancer, and no studies that contradict them,” said Stephen Schwartz, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and an author who was involved in the first piece of research in 2009, linking marijuana use and testicular cancer, “I think we should start taking notice.”
The National Cancer Institute estimates that this year will see over 8,500 men diagnosed with the cancer, with 360 dying from the illness.