Cancer more likely for azoospermic men


Men with no sperm have a higher risk of developing cancer than other men. This is according to researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine. A man’s fertility could be an indicator of his overall physical condition.

Male infertility may be an indicator of overall health

The condition of having no measurable level of sperm is called azoospermia. Approximately 15% or four million men from 15 to 45 years old are infertile. About 1% of all men are azoospermic. Perhaps as much as 20% of fertility issues for couples can be traced to this condition. According to this new study, men who are diagnosed with azoospermia before thirty years of age are eight times more likely to develop cancer when compared to other men. “An azoospermic man’s risk for developing cancer is similar to that for a typical man 10 years older,” explained Michael Eisenberg, MD, PhD, and lead author. And this isn’t just testicular cancer as other studies has shown; this is any type of cancer. Researchers believe that infertility could be a bellwether for a man’s overall health.

Researchers followed the men for over six years

Azoospermia has two main causes: obstructive which indicates a blockage which stops the flow of otherwise plentiful and healthy sperm and non-obstructive which indicates the testes did not produce enough sperm to ejaculate. For this study Eisenberg and his team gathered and analyzed data from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Cancer Registry. There were over two thousand men seen or treated at the fertility clinic with infertility. About 450 had azoospermia. They screened about fourth of them and found they all suffered from non-obstructive azoospermia. The men were followed for over six years. Researchers were able to compare the incidences of cancer with age-adjusted cancer-diagnosis statistics of men in Texas.

Risk increases 1.7 times

They found that 29 of the 2,238 infertile men developed cancer. In a control group of similar size, 16 fertile men were diagnosed with cancer. They determined that infertile men are 1.7 times more likely to develop cancer.

Source: Fertility and Sterility, MedicalNewsToday


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