By Fred Hardwicke
Only about one in 400 men get testicular cancer, but since it is the leading cancer in men from ages 15 to 45, it deserves some attention. An undescended testicle is a strong risk factor for developing the disease, however, many cases have no connection. Monthly self-examination is encouraged, as the best testicular cancer is the one caught early, before things get complicated or deadly. A new nodule or generalized enlargement are both potentially concerning.
There are challenges doing studies on substances that are not fully legal. However, it is known that known that THC, the active component in marijuana, is known to disrupt hormonal signals. A number of studies, both recent and not, generally point to marijuana smoking as a risk factor for testicular cancer. The greatest concern is the apparent higher incidence of non-seminomatous germ cell cancers, for these are very dangerous cancers. And, the incidence of testicular cancer is on the rise, as is marijuana smoking in young men. My own experience with testicular cancer patients includes quite a few marijuana smokers, but there are plenty of others with little to no exposure. From time to time, older men get testicular cancer also.
Dr. Fred Hardwicke practices medical oncology at Childress Regional Medical Center, 900 U.S. Highway 83. To contact Dr. Hardwicke, call 940-937-3636.