Marijuana use may raise risk of testicular cancer
Marijuana use may be associated with testicular cancer in young men, a new study finds.
September 10th, 2012
03:39 PM ET

Marijuana use may raise risk of testicular cancer

Marijuana may double the risk of testicular cancer among young men, particularly tumors that are more severe, according to a new study published in the American Cancer Society's journal, Cancer.

"This is a very consistent finding now that marijuana seems to be associated with the worst kind of testis cancer that occurs in young men ... (it) may well be causal," said study author Victoria Cortessis, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

Two previous studies in 2009 and 2010 found similar associations.

According to the National Cancer Institute, testicular cancer occurs most commonly in young or middle-aged men. Of the 8,590 new cases estimated in the United States this year, about 360 men will die. The cause of most cases is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society.

The rates of testicular cancer in men are increasing– as much as doubling every 20 to 30 years, Cortessis said. At the same time, marijuana use has increased, often in young males.

"It may be that marijuana use is actually interfering with hormonal signaling in a way that disturbs function of the testis," she said. "That's a possibility - that's something that we can now formulate specific hypotheses about and try to understand."

In the study, researchers examined the self-reported history of recreational drug use among 163 men who had testicular cancer. All were between the ages of 18 and 35 when diagnosed in Los Angeles County between 1986 and 1991.

Researchers asked questions about their family history of cancer and their own use of various drugs, including if they had ever used them and, if so, the years they did so and the average number of times per week of use.

They compared these histories to that of 292 healthy men of the same age, race and ethnicity.

"We saw a pattern of dose response that we didn't expect," Cortessis said. Men who reported long-term usage of marijuana did not face greater risk, she said. The findings suggest "early experimental use," which would be short-term, may trigger increased cancer risk.

"But that is speculation, and something we're going to look into with data in the future," she said.

"... That certainly seems plausible because we know that hormonal signaling governs a great deal of the sexual development of the testis," she added. "It may be that guys who, when they're still pretty young, going through puberty, if they are experimenting with marijuana, it may be that that is the most harmful period when this could happen, but that's only one possible interpretation of those data."

The findings suggest that the possible effects be taken into consideration both in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, in addition to times when marijuana and its derivatives are being considered as medicinal treatment for young males.

soundoff (394 Responses)
  1. Logic

    As opposed to something we KNOW causes cancer, like TOBACCO?

    September 10, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DNA

      My friend is eating hash cookies and they're shrinking his stage 4 lung cancer tumors.

      September 10, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      I'm not understanding your post. The link between tobacco and lung cancer was found in exactly this manner – through analysis of epidemiological data. We know tobacco is the culprit originally because of statistics very similar to these. Verification through identification of the precise pathways by which tobacco triggers cancer is actually a very recent development, and is still not completely understood. The statistics alone, however, are all the proof anyone needs to see that something is amiss.

      September 10, 2012 at 18:40 | Report abuse |
  2. capiers

    Seriously, Let me see now.. drinking, fast food, driving, sports, flying, exercise etc... has adverse affects on ones health. I guess we are all doomed to die of something someday.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisdom4u2

      Exactamundo!! I have yet to meet a person who has made it out of this world ALIVE! Well.....except for Jesus. 🙂 (true story)

      September 10, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  3. wow

    Hello this article says MAY lol. I check and is another chapter of reefer madness. Next they will say it causes people to run down street naked again.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Shelly

    This study, brought to you by every cancer drug company in the world..... I'm not buying this study for a second. They don't want you to know that marijuana has cancer curing properties. THAT's what needs to be studied!

    September 10, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisdom4u2

      "This study, brought to you by every cancer drug company in the world"

      Ha-ha...love this!

      September 10, 2012 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • lou50

      smoke even more and have your relatives mail in the results! My neighbors are still testing the normal tobacco coffin nail idea. But it just does not happen fast enough!

      September 10, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  5. Portland tony

    Any study or Research project that preconditions its conclusion with "May Cause" is suspect to begin with. Just looks like they want additional funding.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marion

      Yes......another researcher trying to justify their research grant. If you read closely, MOST studies use the words "may", "possibly", "we think", "we don't know if", and on and on.....and the MEDIA latches on to these "studies", especiually when it is about Marijuana use, never really looking at their controls and just for "sound bites" and silly headlines

      September 10, 2012 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
  6. albert

    Look at the bright side, this will help to cull the gene pool

    September 10, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lou50

      thank you as you beat me to it. keep up the good work!

      September 10, 2012 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  7. Buzz

    Better get my balls examined

    September 10, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisdom4u2

      LOL!!!! On that note....peace out all.

      September 10, 2012 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • NightTrain

      That dope will put a whuppin on your brain boy!

      September 10, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
  8. XxMacleodxX

    the same study also says cocaine reduces testicular cancer risk....so just do both and the whole thing is a moot point

    September 10, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Daniel

    Having fun and living also causes cancer! More @ 11.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. HA

    Wooooot! Stoners can't breed! HA! Hurry up and die off!

    September 10, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisdom4u2

      Invalid argument!! You’re here...therefore, ‘stoners’ CAN breed. Duhhhh

      September 10, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • 420Jay


      Been smoking pot for 20 years, finally decided to have kids, had a sperm count done..run 30% active sperm .. to most mens 12-15% average..
      Got 4 kids... Hrmm...Balls feel just fine thanks. (wife thinks so too)

      September 10, 2012 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
  11. Pppa

    "'But that is speculation, and something we're going to look into with data in the future...'"

    Just like most other cancer-related research in need of deep funding, begging the question: If they had a cure for cancer, would they release it to the rest of us at the risk to their cash cow? Or, are we just cancer consumers now? Hmmm...

    September 10, 2012 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Babaloo10

    How about the fact that they live in Los Angeles. How about testing the drinking water. All of these men all drank water, so why couldn't cancer cause be something in the environment from living down in such a polluted environment? Why don't they think it is the air they breathe down there--loaded air with carcinogens. I think this story needs a lot more research to other causes. In 1992 I cut a story from the San Francisco newspaper saying that the highest incidences of breast cancer were in the Bay area!!! Another highly contaminated water and air polluted placed.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      Sorry, Babaloo, but San Francisco has one of the purest water supplies in the entire world.

      There is not "something in the water" - it's pure snowmelt.

      September 10, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • OpinionsToGo

      How about pesticide and insecticide residues in food, or bio-engineering and GMOs?

      September 10, 2012 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Because those with lower testicular cancer rates also drank the water. The differentiating factor seems to be marijuana use – which is a pretty big clue that there's a link between the two.

      September 10, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse |
  13. TOM

    That’s just nature in work. Killing off stupid people is how this system works. So please, if you like to high smoke away:) Help save the planet, go kill yourself!

    September 10, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisdom4u2

      News Flash....you're going to die too, but at least the pot smokers will be smiling... 🙂

      September 10, 2012 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • easye123

      Just for the record, I have an 8.5 in peni$ 🙂

      September 10, 2012 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
  14. easye123

    Hmmmm... looks like I've got to go and get my balls looked at. But honestly, 3 healthy kids later, I'm now 41 and my stuff is working as good as it ever has. We shall see 🙂

    September 10, 2012 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. idiots

    the root cause is not enough sex, if you don't use your tool, it's going to breakdown.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. berman

    Those are REALLY flimsy finding for such a strong headline.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. easye123

    You never know folks. The study might be right. Let's just all go get our balls checked and find out if they're blowing smoke up our a$$e$

    September 10, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Andrew

    I remember there was an article a few months back about marijuana use having an adverse effect (exactly what slips my mind), but was also age dependent, where only those using marijuana before the end of puberty were affected, and those who started after puberty, regardless of how much they used, had no adverse affects. there's probably something to there being hormonal changes during puberty from marijuana use.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Steve

    This is a possible correlation and not necessarily a causation as this worthless article tries to paint. These studies always have some small amount of value that is hugely overblown in uninformative rags like CNN health. Take every article on this site with a bucket of salt.

    September 10, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. xfiler93

    druggies are upset everywhere!

    September 10, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Franzia

    I love the fact that the SECOND word in this is article "MAY".

    September 10, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. NewJoiseyGuy

    Can I just smoke till my stones hurt? lol

    September 10, 2012 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. dreamer96

    Ha ha ha

    Pot smoking may cause Testicular cancer...so does Viagra...Both mean more sex in your life and .. both lead to the little guys taking a beating either way..

    It's like joggers run a higher risk of getting sore feet..Ha ha ha...

    September 10, 2012 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. James

    Ok so it's not good for you, so what? Neither are beer, whiskey, cigarettes, chocolate bars and cheeseburgers, cookies, cakes, pie, etc... If somebody wants to smoke a little weed once in a while, who am I to say they shouldn't? All things in moderation.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. usmcBG

    Why is the article news? Alcohol causes everything including domestic battery, cigarette smoking leads to everything including gross coughing. You run the risk of tearing a rotator cuff when bowling, should we be scared to go bowling? I may die riding my GSXR 750 but I don't see an article on CNN telling me I have a chance of death on motorcycle....is CNN getting that desperate or is it the methodical pontification machine hard at work? You know, I'm tired of all the rhetoric about marijuana, I don't smoke it but legalize it. If you research properly, you'll understand why it can't compete against the mortality rate of alcohol and cigarette smoking, but still a naturally grown plant. CNN, you have almost lost me, you are starting to follow the Fox news BS lying machine.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. FuqOff

    Suddenly, I have the urge to go smoke a joint. Yep, sounds good

    September 10, 2012 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. easye123

    Here is how to do a self test for testicular cancer – http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-physically-check-for-testicular-cancer.html.

    The thought of rolling a nut between my fingers makes me freaking cringe... oooouuuchhhh.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. BD70

    Get some concrete facts and then get back to us.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. warnat

    strange...i know a bunch of guys that have smoked since the 60s...never heard any of them say they got ball cancer...had one friend that died from ball cancer tho...but he was a drinker, not a smoker...

    September 10, 2012 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. JJ

    Wow Cnn, what's with the revamped reefer madness!? Two weeks ago you ran a story that sited a POSSIBLE statistical correlation between youth using pot and IQ. Some people inferred the data to mean that there was a direct and harmful link between pot and IQ development in youth. Never mind all the problems with that conclusion and never mind all the problems with the study and the sample population. Let's just assume that it's correct that pot, like alcohol and tobacco, can interfere with the healthy development of a young person. Now ask a minor, which is easier to get: alcohol or weed? Let's take it out of the alleys and put it behind the counter! Get with it CNN!!

    September 10, 2012 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JJ

    This study might as well say that unicorns MAY be allergic to fairy dust according to one study

    September 10, 2012 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. t3chsupport

    Tha'ts right, folks. BALL CANCER.
    Never mind all of the horrible things alcohol can do to you. Marijuana MAY give you nut cancer. Marijuana MAY cause you to murder someone and eat their face. Marijuana MAY make you a brain dead drop out.

    They can't say all of that about alcohol, because they can't say MAY. Because we KNOW alcohol causes cancers, we know it causes cirrosis, we know it causes mental decline, we know it ruins families, we know it kills as a poison, as well as on the road.

    But we don't want to talk about that, do we?

    September 10, 2012 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GMK

    Nonsense! Actual clinical studies have shown that cannabinoids have been shown to cause apoptosis, which causes cancerous cells to die, while the healthy cells survive. This study is based on flimsy evidence and draws a false conclusion based on little evidence. And, let's not forget the the US Dept. of Health and Human Services owns patent 6630507, which details the medical efficacy of cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants. http://www.preview.tinyurl.com/cannabinoid

    September 10, 2012 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. easye123

    I take this article with a grain of salt, but I'm not going to ignore it. I'll go get my balls checked. I've always said that if someone can prove that marijuana is truly harmful, I would quit using it.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      smoking anything is harmful- that's a well known fact. there's plenty of carcinogens produced when you burn anything.

      September 10, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • easye123

      @Andrew, that's true. That's why I 'vaporize'.

      September 10, 2012 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
  35. Lars Babaganoosh

    Reading this article made my balls hurt. Thankfully I have a blunt rolled up ready to go.

    Don't forget to bring a towel!

    September 10, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SorryScientists

      Don't Panic. 🙂

      September 11, 2012 at 08:41 | Report abuse |
  36. pajamaglam

    They've been trying to link these two (MJ and testicular cancer) for years. Scientists have CONFIRMED cannabinoids reduce cancer cells and have several medicinal properties – but it's only legal and "safe" once the pharmaceutical companies have isolated the compounds and packaged it into a neat little pill you can pay them for. The only reason this hilarious non-study even made the news = propaganda. Try again, ACS.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JoeyE

    it said MAY but I know I will say no.. get lost deceivers!! I never believe in any cancer caused by Hemp.. people had testicular cancer and never use marijuana what the heck you talking about?

    September 10, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. another1

    390 deaths a year is still lower than the over 15,000 deaths a year from ASPIRIN, and I don't see them rushing to take plain old aspirin off the market. This is more hysterical propaganda to demonize something that poses practically no health risk if taken orally.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. lance corporal

    WOW, there is more conjecture in this article than I've ever seen in a science article before, MOST researchers know better to say things than it LOOKS like there MAY be a causal relationship, when there is NO clear indication and there has NOT been sufficient controls in place

    why are we wasting our resources on this? we KNOW tobacco and alcohol cause cancers and MORE
    but does that mean we can FORCE people not to use them? NO!

    why don't we put our resources to figuring out what ever it is that is wrong with the radical right that causes them to go soooooo nutsy when they don't get EVERY little thing they want????? or that THEY should decide what people can and cannot do (like alcohol is OK but ganja is not????) THAT is research we can USE...........

    September 10, 2012 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jim

    "Marijuana may double the risk of testicular cancer among young men"

    So, that sentence basically states it may not also... or MAY reduce your chances. We MAY never know.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. phazon

    Before I even read the posts I knew what they was going to say, to start off with let me be clear just because a lot of things are harmful doesn't mean it gives you a reason to use something else. Anything smoke you inhale into your lungs is harmful doesn't matter what it is tobacco, forest fires anything that goes into your lungs is harmful. The question that most need to ask themselves is not why its illegal but rather why do I need it to survive.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • easye123

      Oh c'mon. No one needs cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, whatever you call it to survive. No one claims they do. Neither do they need Starbucks, chocolate cake, Hershey's chocolate, oral sex, movie theaters, theme parks, sun roofs, DVD/Blu Ray, hi-fi stereo, ipods, etc etc etc. My point is its just a little luxury in life that some people enjoy. These people aren't hurting anyone or causing anyone any problems when they're using it. It pleases them and gives them pleasure. So what's the big deal? The universe has given man this tiny little gift that occurs naturally, and some bully a$$es want to go an threaten him with violence and imprisonment if he accepts the gift. In a free country it is truly sad.

      September 10, 2012 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  42. Miked

    That's why the safest way to smoke this natural herb is through a vaporizor. There is a society of industry giants that do not want to see marijuana legalized, such as the tobacco industry, liquor industry, medicare/medicaid (since they are currently allowed to deny you coverage if there is any trace of THC in your system), etc... Anything that you eat or consume can be harmful if you abuse it. Legalizing pot would widen the gap of consumers and producers; everybody wins.

    September 10, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Lynn

    My ex is a pothead. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

    September 10, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. J

    The study also reported a NEGATIVE association with cocaine use, but not a single mention by CNN.....

    September 10, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. us_1776

    This study was brought to you by:

    Your local drug posse.
    Your local DEA.
    Your local "for-profit" privatized prison.
    Your local sheriffs drug unit.
    Your local politician.
    And BIG PHARMA who wants you to remember your soma.


    September 10, 2012 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. thefinetruth

    I smoked a fair amount of pot when I was younger. My b@lls are OK.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. kooolguy

    look at the words used "may" "possibly" they don't even know. they say testicular cancer increases are occurring and so is marijuana use so lets lump them together. thats like saying "obesity is increasing and simultaneously the political ads for the coming election are increasing therefore political ads may cause obesity"... BS! the article also says it ONLY happens to men in puberty which is a PERFECT example of why we should legalize it, to restrict usage amongst kids! sure kids can still get their hands on some but no doubt it will be a bit harder.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Consequence

    well, if it seems there are too many pot smokers, this article suggests that, in time, there will be none...at least, not enough to plant the next crop – colei nulli.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Veritas Lavinga

    The only thing worse than losing a ball is both. Stop the pot as it's not worth the loss.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Terry Derwitsch

    Where do I report abuse against whomever got the check that prompted this article?
    This is COMPLETE hogwash. The American Cancer Society is a money making machine; nothing more. It's leader, John Seffrin's salary: 2,200,000.00! Yeah, that's right. No typo. Plus–he ain't the only staff! There are tens of thousands of them. Patients get about 12 cents on a dollar. It's a business not a charity. Gimme a break. The feds let them sail away on it, too like a lot of other charities are doing LOOK: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.253858361392322.51302.221925627918929&type=3

    Rick Simpson is gaining headway towards getting hemp oil legalized for all. So guess what? Get ready for a lot of nonsense from these and lots of other LIARS that will try to demonize pot. THEY GONNA LOSE MONEY AND THEY SKEERED. Don't believe them. Don't believe a word of it. See my heroes page at: http://www.letschuckasickie.com for all the info you need about the hemp oil all these money hungry dirtbags don't want you to have.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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