Testicular cancer patients remain fertile
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust23 July 2005
The majority of testicular cancer patients are able to go on to father children, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust quizzed 200 men who tried to have children after treatment for the disease between 1982 and 1992. Of these, 77 per cent were able to father a child naturally, and another 10 men were successful after fertility treatment.
For those that had been treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy after surgery, the risk of infertility was greater than for those who had no follow-up treatment, but it was less than expected.
'We have shown that after treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy the majority of men who want to father children can do so', said lead researcher Dr Robert Huddart. However, he pointed out that it was important that men should be monitored for testosterone, as low levels of the hormone can decrease libido.
Despite the promising results, Dr Huddart still says men who want to have children should bank their sperm before treatment, just in case. 'Overall, it was under than 5 per cent of men...who needed that sort of support', he said.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15-44. Around 2000 cases are reported in the UK each year, with half in men under 35. It is 99 per cent curable if it is caught early enough, and this new study shows that most patients can go on to lead normal lives after treatment.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.