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The research, the largest so far to investigate whether there is a link between infertility and cancer found that infertile men have almost three times the risk of developing testicular cancer compared with the overall population of males. The research is likely to spur more questions about the connection but the researchers believe that the common cause probably underlies infertility and cancer.

The incidence of testicular cancer, the most common malignancy in American men from ages 15 to 34 has almost doubled from 1975 to 2002 while sperm quality and fertility declined during that time. So, what’s the difference between now and then except for the higher risk of testicular cancer? What is it that we are exposed to?

Earlier studies found men were more likely to be infertile if they went through puberty early, had testicular trauma, smoked cigarettes or marijuana or were exposed to toxic substances such as lead. Causes of testicular cancer are not known but risk factors include being white, having an undescended testicle or having a family history of the testicular cancer. Cancer cases were unlikely to be caused by fertility treatments.
Faulty DNA repair mechanisms have been linked to certain severe forms of infertility in men and bad DNA repair has also been associated with cancer. However, such mutations are rare and unlikely to explain all of the increased risk.

Men who are infertile, due to higher risk of testes cancer, should be taught how to do a self-exam. However, they shouldn’t go around worrying about it and constantly inspecting themselves as the absolute risk is still quite low.

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I am wondering if men who are infertile due to vasectomy also tend to have a higher incidence of testicular cancer.
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