Does Having Testicular Cancer Increase
the Risk of Other Cancers?


Testicular cancer patients sometimes wonder whether their risk of a second cancer increases because of their diagnosis or treatment.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland studied the incidence rates of second neoplasms in 28,843 survivors of testicular cancer, finding second cancers in 1,406 men (4.87%), with an observed-to-expected ratio (O/E) of 1.43 (95% CI 1.35-1.51). This means almost 5% of testicular cancer survivors had a second cancer, making them 1.43 +/- 0.08 times more likely to have a second cancer than the general population, with 95% certainty.

Statistically significant excesses were noted for the following cancers, with O/E ratios noted in parentheses:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (5.20)
  • Connective Tissue Cancer (3.16)
  • Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia (3.07)
  • Thyroid Cancer (2.92)
  • Pancreatic Cancer (2.21)
  • Bladder Cancer (2.02)
  • Stomach Cancer (1.95)
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (1.88)
  • Melanoma (1.69)
  • Kidney Cancer (1.50)
  • Rectal Cancer (1.41)
  • Colon Cancer (1.27)
  • Prostate Cancer (1.26)

The overall risk was similar after seminoma (O/E = 1.42) and nonseminoma (O/E = 1.50). The risk of solid tumors increased with time since the testicular cancer diagnosis, with an O/E of 1.54 (O = 369) among the 3,300 20-year survivors. Secondary leukemia was associated with both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, while excess cancers of the stomach, bladder and pancreas were associated mainly with radiotherapy.

A Swedish research study Karolinska Institute reported that testicular cancer survivors are at significantly increased risks for subsequent cancer of the stomach, pancreas, contralateral testis, kidney, bladder, thyroid and connective and lymphatic tissues.

Copyright © 2005-2018 by Mark Kantrowitz. All rights reserved.

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