November 1, 2005

Men with testicular cancer often become fathers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - After treatment for testicular
cancer, about 71 percent of men achieve fatherhood, new
research indicates. However, the type of treatment has a strong
impact on the paternity rate.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of the National
Cancer Institute, are based on a study of 554 long-term
survivors of testicular cancer who attempted to become fathers
following treatment.

Dr. Marianne Brydoy, from Haukeland University Hospital in
Bergen, Norway, and colleagues divided the subjects into groups
based on the treatment they were given after surgery:
surveillance, removal of lymph nodes, radiation, low-dose
chemotherapy, and high-dose chemo.

As noted, the overall 15-year post-treatment paternity rate
was 71 percent. The highest paternity rate, 92 percent, was in
the surveillance group, while the lowest rate, 48 percent, was
in the high-dose chemotherapy group.

The average time from diagnosis to the birth of the first
child was 6.6 years, but once again the specific time depended
largely on the treatment received.

Overall, 22 percent of couples who attempted conception
after treatment used some form of assisted reproductive
technology. The researchers add, "With recent advances in
assisted fertility techniques, more testicular cancer survivors
may be helped to father children."

They say their data should help doctors in counseling "new
or prior testicular cancer patients for whom fertility is of
major concern."

However, the team advises that it is impossible to predict
with complete certainly which men will be fertile following
treatment, so pretreatment sperm preservation should be offered
to all patients.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, November
2, 2005.