Testicular cancer is rising dramatically among young Hispanic men, according to a new study in the journal Cancer co-authored by Dr. Stephen Schwartz, professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.
Dr. Schwartz and colleagues at Seattle Children's Hospital found testicular cancer rates increased by 58 percent among 15- to 39-year-old Hispanic Americans and by 7 percent among non-Hispanic whites of the same ages. They examined two datasets from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. The datasets covered 1992 to 2010 and 2000 to 2010 and covered 15 percent and 28 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.
"Previously, testicular cancer was considered a disease that mostly affected non-Hispanic white men," said Dr. Schwartz, also a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Now it is clear that Hispanic men have almost the same risk as non-Hispanic men."
Reasons for the increase among Hispanics are unknown. Testicular cancer risk factors include height, missing one or both testicles, and family history of testicular cancer. Recent research also has linked marijuana use with testicular cancer, and Hispanic teens are currently more likely to use marijuana than other groups, the journal article noted.
Because the Hispanic American population is growing dramatically, the rising rate of testicular cancer is likely to have "a measurable impact" on the U.S. health care system, the researchers said.