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Azoospermia and Cancer Link

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A recent study identified that men who are azoospermic - having no sperm in their ejaculate - have a greater risk of developing cancer. Dr. Michael Eisenberg, Director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, CA, is lead author of the study.

The study looked at 2,238 infertile men, 451 of whom had azoospermia. These azoospermic men had almost a three-fold increase risk of developing cancer, Eisenberg says, with the mean time from semen analysis to cancer diagnosis just under six years.

The cancer diagnoses were not limited to testicular cancer, but to a range of cancers, which Eisenberg says suggests that genetic causes of azoospermia may increase a man’s vulnerability to getting cancer, and that the two diseases may share genetic causes.

According to The American Society of Reproductive Medicine, azoospermia affects about 1% of all men, but in men seeking infertility, the rate is 10% to 15%.

Eisenberg says the finding of the study should be a wake-up call to men, most of whom don’t have a primary care physician until they are older. His recommendation is that men see a doctor annually for a physical exam, and that men with azoospermia have regular cancer screenings.


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