Cancer is an ugly thing that can often take loved ones away from us far too soon. Though there is no specific cause of cancer, there are known factors that make developing certain types of cancer more likely. Researchers have recently found that men who are diagnosed as azoospermic, which is infertility because of an absence of sperm in ejaculate, are more likely to develop cancer at some point in their life.
The study, led by Stanford University School of Medicine urologist Dr. Michael Eisenberg, has found that “an azoospermic man’s risk for developing cancer is similar to that for a typical man 10 years older.” Male infertility and azoospermia are apparently very common in the United States. In fact, about 4 million men in the United States are infertile, and 15% of them are between the ages of 15 and 45. Dr. Eisenberg has found that men’s reproductive health could be an indicator of their overall health as well.
In the study, a total of 29 out of 2,238 infertile men developed cancer over a 5.8-year average period. This time was measured from their semen analysis to their cancer diagnosis. These numbers show that infertile men were 1.7 times more likely to develop cancer than men in the general population. However, the number of infertile men who developed cancer was significantly smaller when the percentage of men with azoospermia were deducted from the number. The research seems to suggest that it’s not infertility that causes men to become more at risk of cancer, but a complete lack of sperm altogether.
There really isn’t anything men with azoospermia can do to significantly lessen their chances of developing cancer. However, Dr. Eisenberg recommended that men get checkups regularly, especially if they have a family history of infertility or azoospermia. Catching cancer quickly is the best option for survival, and since men with azoospermia are 8 times more likely to develop cancer by the age of 30, the sooner they start regular checkups, the better.
The best news that the study revealed is that men in good health were still less likely to develop cancer despite being azoospermic. Though the study may paint a bleak future for some men, it’s still a reminder of the power of a healthy, active life. It’s important to remember, balancing the right diet with a fit lifestyle can always decrease your chances of developing many different illnesses and disease throughout your lifetime.
- Michael L. Eisenberg, Paul Betts, Danielle Herder, Dolores J. Lamb, Larry I. Lipshultz. Increased risk of cancer among azoospermic men. Fertility and Sterility, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.05.022
- Stanford University Medical Center (2013, June 20). Men who can't produce sperm face increased cancer risk. ScienceDaily.