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Marijuana Linked to Aggressive Testicular Cancer
Date:2/9/2009

But not all are sure that adolescents' use of cannabis causes cells to proliferate

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking marijuana over an extended period of time appears to greatly boost a young man's risk for developing a particularly aggressive form of testicular cancer, a new study reveals.

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 percent of all cases.

"Since we know that the incidence of testicular cancer has been rising in our country and in Europe over the last 40 years and that marijuana use has also risen over the same time, it seemed logical that there might be an association between the two," said study co-author Janet Daling, an epidemiologist and member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's public health sciences division in Seattle. "And when I analyzed the data, we found a fairly strong relationship with this aggressive type of testicular cancer."

No link was found between the drug and a less aggressive and more prevalent form of the disease, known as seminoma, which strikes 60 percent of testicular cancer patients.

The findings were published in the Feb. 9 online issue of Cancer.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, testicular cancer is very rare, accounting for just 1 percent of cancers among American men. Nevertheless, the disease is the most common type of cancer for American men between the ages of 15 and 34, the study noted.

Across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, testicular cancer rates have increased by 3 percent to 6 percent 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
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