Azoospermia and Cancer
What is Azoospermia?
Azoospermia is a male fertility problem. As the name suggest, males suffering from azoospermia secrete no sperms in their ejaculate.
According to a recent research conducted by an American Fertility Center, it was reported that almost around four million couples in America experiences infertility. It has been reported that in about 50% cases, male fertility issues are responsible. It is noteworthy that about 2% cases of male infertility are due to complete absence of sperms i.e. Azoospermia. It has also been reported that 15% males who experiences infertility are between 15 to 40 years of age i.e. at the peak reproductive years for any male.
Causes of Azoospermia:
Azoospermia can be caused by one of the following conditions:
- An issue or aberration in the sperm production: In this condition the testicles are unable to produce sperms at all. It might be due to a genetic issue. This condition is also referred to as testicular Azoospermia and it is not curable. However, its less severe form i.e. pre and post testicular Azoospermia can be managed by antibiotics or surgery.
- There is an obstruction and blockage due to which sperm cannot reach the ejaculate. This condition is known as obstructive Azoospermia. In this type of Azoospermia, pregnancy can be achieved by extracting the blocked sperms and inserting them artificially in the woman’s egg/s.
Azoospermia is usually diagnosed by physical examination, lab tests, semen analysis report and transrectal ultrasound examination.
Research regarding Azoospermia and increased risk of cancer:
The infertility and inability to impregnate your partner is a frustrating and stressful condition for every male. But do you have any idea that these issues can also aggravate your risk of developing some critical and life-threatening diseases?
According to a survey conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine, by Dr. Michael Eisenberg, the risk of developing cancer is twice as much in infertile males as compared to fertile males.
In order to analyze this, a study was conducted on 2238 infertile participants. About 451 study participants were diagnosed with Azoospermia. The medical reports (from 1995- 2009) of these participants were studied thoroughly which indicated that 29 infertile men with Azoospermia have developed cancer. This study shows that males who are living with Azoospermia have an increased risk of developing cancer. The study also yields following results
- The infertile males are at 1.7 times higher risk of developing cancer than normal fertile male.
- Among infertile males, those who are diagnosed with Azoospermia have 2.9 times higher risk of developing cancer.
- The younger the infertile person the higher will be the risk of developing cancer. The males who are below 30 years of age have 8 times higher risk of developing cancer.
Typically, infertile males are prone to develop different types of cancer. The most common types include, brain, stomach, prostate, testicular cancer, small intestine and melanoma.
According to Dr. Eisenberg the result of the above study suggests that male who suffers from Azoospermia and other fertility issues should go for medical checkups and cancer screening on periodic basis.
Speak to your healthcare provider if you have a family history of certain malignancies.