Men who have neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are slightly more prone to testicular cancer or seminoma, according to a new study.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, is said to be the first-ever approach to establish a link between the two.
There are diverse forms of testicular cancers, the majority of which start in the germ cells — the cells that produce sperm — found in men’s testicles. Alternatively called germ cell tumors, these can be classified into two groups: seminomas and non-seminomas, according to Cancer.org.
Seminoma is the slow-spreading and highly-curable variant that typically occurs in germ cells but can promulgate to different parts of the body.
“As testicular cancer can be surgically removed, thus curing the disease, it is important to seek care in time if you feel a lump in your testicle,” said Ingrid Glimelius, senior consultant at the Department of Oncology at Uppsala University Hospital and Professor at Uppsala University, where the study is conducted.
As part of the study, a cohort of 6,166 patients with testicular cancers was matched against 61,660 men from the same age group but without the condition. Researchers referenced medical register data to comprehend whether psychiatric disorder diagnosis was more common in the cancer-affected men than those in the controlled group.
Initially, researchers didn’t find any evidence of a higher risk of testicular cancer in individuals with a psychiatric diagnosis, but the group with a neurodevelopmental disorder showed a heightened tendency to develop seminoma type of testicular cancer.
“The study also found that people with a neurodevelopmental disorder were a median of four years younger when they developed cancer and were more likely to have more advanced disease at diagnosis,” Glimelius said, as per Eureka Alert.
“We also saw that people with a previous psychiatric diagnosis had a slightly increased risk of dying from their testicular cancer compared to people without a previous psychiatric diagnosis, although testicular cancer survival rates were generally very good in both groups,” said Anna Jansson, doctoral student at Uppsala University and physician at Uppsala University Hospital.
“We do not know why we are seeing a link between neurodevelopmental disorders and the risk of testicular cancer, but we believe that early life events have an impact; perhaps even as early as the fetal stage,” Jansson added.