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Study Links Marijuana to Testicular Cancer

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Without trying to be too alarmist, I thought I’d open this article with a few statistics about testicular cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the disease is in fact relatively rare, affecting approximately 1 in 300 men. But, it also has to be said that testicular cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in men aged 15 – 39. What’s more, the incidences of the disease are on the rise – with between 3 and 6 percent more cases being reported year after year. Reason enough then, to frequently check the old nut sack for abnormal lumps and bumps.

The reasons for the ever increasing rates of testicular cancer have remained much of an enigma. However, researchers at the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle believe they may have solved part of the puzzle.

According to their new research, published in the journal  Cancer , frequent  Marijuana  smokers may be up to 70 percent more likely to develop the most aggressive type of testicular  cancer  (known as a nonseminoma) than those who never touch the drug. What’s more, regular users who started smoking  Marijuana  before the age of 18 could be at even greater risk.

The study, which compared frequency of  Marijuana  use between 369 men with testicular  cancer  and 979 healthy men, in fact found that those who started smoking the drug before the age of 18 were 2.3 times more likely to develop the aggressive form of the disease.

The researchers suggest that younger users of the drug may be more vulnerable to potential adverse environmental factors – including the chemicals in  Marijuana  (called cannabinoids). Like the brain, the testicles contain cannabinoid receptors, and the uptake of  Marijuana  cannabinoids by these receptors may interfere with the testes natural defenses against tumors.

This is the first study to show any correlation between  Marijuana  use and testicular  cancer ; and even in the words of the researchers, it’s a ‘hypothesis’ that requires further investigation. However, the researchers do note that increases in the rates of the disease over the past 50 years do coincide with a significant rise in the use of the  Marijuana .

Dr. Stephen Schwartz, one of the principle authors of the trial, emphasized that youngsters should be made aware that little is known about the long-term consequences of smoking  Marijuana , and whilst the results of this trial needed further verification, it provided “some evidence that testicular  cancer  could be one adverse consequence.”

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Source by Gary Marshall

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