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Smoking Marijuana Tied to Testicular Cancer

Could Pot Smoking Be Behind Rising Rates of Testicular Cancer?

Put It in Perspective continued...

Researchers don’t think that means smoking more pot is actually safer.

Other studies, which were larger, found that cancer risk increased with the size of a man’s pot smoking habit. The new study may simply be too small to show the same relationship.

Doctors aren’t sure why marijuana may increase the risk for certain kinds of testicular cancer. The active ingredient in the drug, THC, is known to disrupt hormone signals in the body. That may put cells in the testes on a path to cancer. More research is needed before researchers can say for sure.

The bottom line, says Stephen M. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is that marijuana may not be as harmless a drug as some people think.

“The overall story is that there’s an increased risk in marijuana users,” says Schwartz, who was not involved in the research. “It’s particular to the kinds of testicular tumors that are the most aggressive and therefore the most likely to put a man’s life at risk.” What’s more, he says, the finding “is pretty consistent amongst these three studies, which is something we should be paying attention to.”

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