Although testicular cancer is normally curable when caught early, some patients are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced. Undescended testes in childhood and a family history of the disease are known to increase the risk.
Stephen Schwartz, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, Washington, who led the research, said: “Our study is not the first to suggest that some aspect of a man’s lifestyle or environment is a risk factor for testicular cancer but it is the first that has looked at marijuana use.”
Researchers in the US have found that men who regularly smoke cannabis have a 70 per cent increased risk of testicular cancer. The risk was highest – twice that of those who never used the drug – in those who smoked it at least once a week or had a long history of use, beginning in adolescence.
The soaring rate of testicular cancer in the UK and other Western countries is linked today to the increased popularity of cannabis. Testicular cancer has more than doubled over the past 30 years and its rise parallels that of the use of cannabis, Britain’s most popular illegal drug.
Experts from Cancer Research UK said it was the first time a link had been suggested and the size of the study was small. More than three million people smoke cannabis and only a tiny proportion develop the cancer.
There were 2,109 cases of testicular cancer in Britain in 2005 and 78 deaths. In 1975 there were 850 cases. Unlike other cancers, it is most common in young men with a peak incidence between the ages of 20 and 40.
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“We know very little about the long-term health consequences of marijuana smoking,” she cautioned. “So, although this is the first time this association has been studied and found — and the finding does need to be replicated before we are really sure what’s going on — this does give some evidence that testicular cancer may be one result from the frequent use of marijuana. And that is something that young people should keep in mind.”
In fact, researchers found that men who smoked marijuana once a week or began to use the substance on a long-term basis while adolescents incurred double the risk for developing the fastest-spreading version of testicular cancer — nonseminoma, which accounts for about 40% of all cases.
The researchers found that current marijuana use was linked to a 70% increased risk for the disease.
But the prospect of a causal relationship between marijuana use and testicular cancer raised a lot of unanswered questions for Gary Schwartz, an associate professor in both the department of cancer biology and the department of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Along those lines, the researchers noted that the testes could be particularly vulnerable to the effects of marijuana, given that the organ — along with the brain, heart, uterus and spleen — carries specific receptors for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The findings were published in the Feb. 9 online issue of Cancer.
Across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, testicular cancer rates have increased by 3% to 6% in the past half-century. That has led some researchers to suggest that the upward trend might be the product of increased exposure among young men to one or more external factors, including a simultaneous and comparable rise in the use of marijuana.
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Finally, it might certainly be my own bias, but I just get the feeling these articles were all politically and media driven. The science is virtually non-existant. If I had Testicular Cancer, I would take CBD + THC in as large a dose I could tolerate, which would probably be a lot.
Dr Frankel talks about Trigeminal Neuralgia and the positive effect he has seen cannabis have on patients dealing with it. Some feedback received by three recent patients is also included.
I am going to need SOME study that shows that cannabis causes Testicular Cancer. The study will have to be much better than poorly controlled survey type retrospective studies.
After reviewing the article:
1. The study group was way, way too small. How can you have a control group of less 150 men
for a study like this, when the incidence of Testicular Cancer is 0.4% or 1 in 280! In my opinion, this
alone makes the report useless.
2. In the report, it is reported that the higher dose users of cannabis did NOT have an increased
incidence of Testicular Cancer. This just makes no sense at all.
3. The lead scientist of the study openly states that their selection bias might have been a
problem. This will turn out to be the real problem with this study.
4. This study was a simple retrospective or “survey” study. This type of study CANNOT EVER BE
USED TO TRY PROVE CAUSE AND EFFECT. Ultimately, the only studies that can show cause and
effect are prospective controlled studies. There are potentially 10 other differences in the
two cohort groups they studied. With a study in young males there are many issues that must
be controlled for.
5. “The people who had been diagnosed with Testicular Cancer were less likely than controls to
report religious affiliation.” This is a direct quote, so maybe the church activities are
to blame for the presumed Cancer increase.
6. Another downplayed but intriguing finding was that cocaine “protected” against Testicular
cancer. This seems as unlikely as Cannabis Causing this cancer.
7. Heavy users actually had a reduced likelihood of developing testicular cancer.
8. Thousands of good scientific articles are now flooding the world with good evidence that both
CBD and THC kill cancer cells.
Dr Frankel talks about his experience with prostate cancer therapies that have reduced his testosterone and the effect it has had on his life.