New study links male fertility problems with an increased risk of prostate cancer
Could the two be linked?
A new study in the British Medical Journal has suggested that men who experience fertility issues may have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer later in life.
The research looked at 1.2 million pregnancies in Sweden over 20 years and found that men who had ICSI - a treatment specifically for male infertility - had an increased prostate cancer risk.
Hundreds of Irish couple undergo fertility treatments every year so it's important for everyone involved to know if there will be any side effects.
Experts at Dublin’s Beacon CARE Fertility have called for more research to be carried out to further ascertain the potential link, but encouraged men to get regular check-ups for prostate cancer and to take steps to understand any fertility issues they may have if they are concerned.
Speaking about the recent study Dr Bart Kuczera, fertility expert at Beacon CARE Fertility said:
"We know broadly that any organ in the human body which demonstrates disordered function is more liable to disease. For example, infertility in females and increased risk of ovarian malignancy.
“With this study, we believe that more research should now be done to further ascertain a possible connection between male infertility and prostate cancer. For example, it does not look at men that may have fertility issues and develop prostate cancer, but don’t undergo testing or treatment, so there may be no knowledge of a fertility problem."
Dr Kuczera went on to say that it's important for men to regular check on their health;
"Broadly speaking, male infertility can be attributed to four factors: low sperm count, poor sperm motility, malformed sperm and blocked sperm ducts.
There are a number of things that can impact a man’s fertility, including lifestyle factors, such as diet, alcohol and caffeine intake. Exposure to certain toxins and excessive mobile phone use can also be factors.
“We’d also encourage men to speak with their GP about prostate cancer screening, particularly if they are over 40."
While the study came to the conclusion that men who achieved fatherhood through assisted reproduction techniques, are at increased risk for early onset prostate cancer, it is only one study on the topic.
If you are thinking about undergoing fertility treatments and are worried about any negative side effects it's important to talk to your doctor before ruling out any of your options.