Young infertile men more prone to have prostate cancer

March 23rd, 2010 - 1:44 am ICT by IANS  

London, March 23 (IANS) A new study has revealed that young men who are infertile are at two-fold risk of developing prostate cancer in later life.
The study involving more than 20,000 men showed that cancer and flaws in sperm production have a common origin - and that infertile men might want to consider being screened for the disease.

During the study, US researchers compared the health records of 22,000 men and found that infertile were more prone to developing easy-to-treat, non-aggressive prostate tumours in later years than other men.

However, their odds of hard-to-treat cancers were 2.6 times higher, reports

The University of Washington team believes it might be because of flaws in the sex chromosomes, or faults in the way damaged DNA heals itself.

“These results, if confirmed, also suggest that men identified with infertility earlier in life may be considered for prostate cancer screening, given the elevated risk specifically for high-grade disease,” said Dr Thomas Walsh, the author of the latest study.

British experts stressed that more research was needed before recommending that infertile men be tested for signs of the disease.

“Research like this will eventually tell us more about the causes of prostate cancer, which are still largely unknown,” said Ed Yong, head of health evidence and information at Cancer Research UK.

“It’s unlikely that being infertile directly leads to prostate cancer. Instead, both infertility and a higher risk of prostate cancer might stem from a common genetic fault, or some aspect of our lifestyle or environment,” Young added.

Age and diet also play a role, with the cancer being most common in older men and those who eat a fatty diet low in fruit and vegetables.

Exercise may be protective, with a recent study finding those who spend most of their working lives sitting down are almost 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than those with very active jobs.

“Being able to identify early and with confidence men who are at risk from a high grade, potentially life threatening prostate tumour from those who are likely to develop a slow growing form of the disease is one of the most important questions facing prostate cancer research today,” said Dr Helen Rippon, of The Prostate Cancer Charity.

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