A new study has found that frequent and early exposure to diagnostic imaging such as CT scans and X-rays might shoot up the risk of testicular cancer among men. This research has been done by experts from Penn Medicine. Experts have seen a sudden increase in testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) incidents in the last three or four decades. They have hinted that it might be an outcome of environmental exposure. However, experts have not been able to identify a specific risk factor behind the dreaded disease. The senior author of the study Dr. Katherine L Nathanson has said that the rapid use of diagnostic radiation below the waistline among men in the past decades might have contributed to the rise of the disease. The data shows that radiation is a major risk factor for causing cancer as it harms DNA. This study has been released in the journal PLOS ONE.
The lead author of the study has said that when cells are not able to repair the damaged DNA, it might lead to a cancer-causing genetic mutation. As per the report, TGCT is one of the most common types of cancers among men in the US and Europe. Men in the age range of 15 to 45 years are affected by this type of cancer. The rate of TGCT cancer has shot up from 3 out of 100000 men in 1975 to 6 out of 100000 men in 2019. Experts believe that nearly 9500 people will be affected by this type of cancer towards the end of this year. In the latest study, experts have done an observational analysis of 1246 men who have been in the age group of 18 to 55 years. All the participants have been asked to fill up a questionnaire, which has elicited information on known or potential risk factors for testicular cancer and the number of diagnostic imaging during their lifetime including the location of the body and frequency of exposures before their diagnosis. Experts have taken samples of the tumor as well during the study.
Scientists have adjusted the risk factors for testicular cancers such as family history, cryptorchidism, race, age, and other factors before concluding the study. They have found that people who have reported at least three exposures to x-ray, including a colon x-ray and CT scan under the waistline have been at a higher risk of testicular cancer as compared to those men who do not have such exposures. Participants, who have been exposed to diagnostic radiation three or more times, have been at a 59 percent increased risk of TGCT as compared to those with no exposure to such radiation. People who have been exposed to diagnostic radiation within the first 10 years of their lives have been at a greater risk of testicular cancer, whereas people who have been exposed to this radiation at the age of 18 years or later are at a lower risk of the disease, said the experts. Considering the findings of the study, health experts have advised that people should dodge avoidable diagnostic radiation exposure.