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Cancer & Marijuana

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A new study indicates that smoking marijuana may raise the risk of a severe type of testicular cancer in young men.

University of Southern California researchers examined and asked 163 men with testicular cancer about their drug use.  They were compared to 292 healthy men of similar races, ages and ethnicities.  Seventy-six percent of the healthy men had tried pot. 

However, the study found 81 percent of the testicular cancer patients had tried pot.  And 85 percent of them were diagnosed with a severe testicular cancer, with mixed germ cell tumors.

Also, the study revealed that cocaine users have a lower risk of getting the more severe kind of testicular cancer. Ironically, they found that cocaine could have a protective effect for example by killing cells in the testicles.  But, researchers caution, cocaine could make men infertile.

Researchers say, the findings don't prove a cause-and-effect link between marijuana use and testicular cancer.

Experts say the overall chances of a young man developing testicular cancer would still be very low.

The American Cancer Society estimates 8,600 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year.

and while treatment is usually successful, it is related to 360 deaths each year.

The study appears in the online journal, Cancer.