Men's health * 50+ health

Infertility increases risk of prostate cancer

Zone default image Infertile men three times more likely to develop aggressive form of disease

Infertile men have an increased risk of developing the most aggressive type of prostate cancer, new research has found.

Reseachers from the University of Washington in Seattle analysed the health records of of 22,562 men who attended 15 infertility clinics in California between 1967 to 1998. These were compared with the health records of men of similar ages from the general population.

The results showed that prostate cancer rates were similar for both groups of men. Out of 4,500 men who were infertile, 19 developed the aggressive form of the disease compared with 16 men in the general population.

Overall, infertile men were almost three times more likely to develop the most aggressive form of the disease, which grows and spreads faster, and is more difficult to treat.

The researchers say if the findings are repeated in other studies, it may be necessary for infertile men to be considered for early prostate cancer screening.

Commenting on the study, Dr Helen Rippon, head of research management at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "This new study is one of the first to investigate if there is a possible link between male infertility and the risk of developing an aggressive prostate cancer.

“The reported link between male infertility and a raised risk of higher grade prostate cancer is based on a very small number of men.

"With such small numbers of men affected, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions about whether the suggested link does exist.

“This potential new risk factor would need to be backed up by further, large scale studies before any recommendations can be made about targeting early screening for prostate cancer at men with fertility problems.”

This article was published on Mon 22 March 2010

Image © Andrey Ushakov -

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