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Pot Use May Raise Risk of Testicular Cancer: Study
Date:9/10/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that young men with a particularly severe type of testicular cancer are more likely to have smoked pot.

But the findings aren't conclusive and a marijuana researcher questioned their value.

Even if there is a doubled risk for pot smokers, as the study seems to indicate, the overall chances of a young man developing testicular cancer would still be very low, experts said.

However, "young men are entitled to this information so that they can make informed decisions," said study co-author Victoria Cortessis, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. She said that although the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect link between marijuana use and testicular cancer, other research has produced similar results.

Testicular cancer is extremely rare, and largely a disease of young men. It is diagnosed in about 8,600 men a year, according to an American Cancer Society estimate, and kills only about 360 since treatment is usually successful. A man's chances of developing the disease over a lifetime are about one in 270.

The new study examined 163 patients who were diagnosed with the most common type of testicular cancer. They were diagnosed between 1986 and 1991 in Los Angeles, and researchers asked about their drug use during in-person interviews.

The researchers compared them to 292 healthy men of similar races, ages and ethnicities.

The study found that of the men with testicular cancer who answered questions about marijuana use, 81 percent had tried the drug. Of the healthy men, 76 percent had tried marijuana.

When researchers looked at an especially severe kind of testicular cancer known as nonseminoma and mixed germ cell tumors, which affected nearly half of the patients, they found that 85 percent had tried marijuana. Only 75 percent
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