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Testicular Cancer Survivors Still at Risk

Higher Risk for Other Cancers Persists for at Least 35 Years
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New Cancer Risk May Be Lower Today

It was not clear from the study how big a role treatment played in emergence of these other cancers. Although radiation treatment doses have been decreased, bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancers have been associated with radiation treatment in past studies.

The authors say given the modification in treatment that results in lower radiation doses these solid tumors will probably have less of an impact on the lives of testicular cancer survivors. Careful follow-up is needed in these men to quantify long-term risk. Researchers say that treatment probably explains most of the increased secondary cancer risk.

"It appears that the risks are somewhat lower with the treatments we are giving today than they were with conventional therapies from a few decades ago," study co-author Charles F. Lynch, MD, PhD, tells WebMD.

Lynch is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

"We don't have the long-term follow-up to know for sure. We probably need to wait for some more time to pass to understand the risks associated with the newer treatments."

That means testicular cancer survivors must be followed carefully for the rest of their lives, says Herman Kattlove, MD, of the American Cancer Society.

He says many young cancer survivors don't know they are at increased risk or ignore the risk after cancer treatment.

"They go off to school, or they get married, or move somewhere and they forget about it," he tells WebMD. "They need to be made aware that even though their testicular cancer is gone, and they are almost certainly cured, they still need to be careful in terms of lifestyle and they need to see their doctors regularly."

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