Which cancers can cause male infertility?

Many cancers and treatments can cause infertility, either temporary or permanent. Some cancers are more likely to cause male infertility such as:
  • Testicular cancer: Fertility may be poor during the two years before testicular cancer is discovered. Although only 1% to 3% of men with testicular cancer get cancer in both testicles, the cancer-free testicle may not be totally normal.
  • Newly diagnosed Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, or leukemia: Recent surgery, fever, or physical stress experienced by survivors may affect the quality of semen.

In addition, cancer treatment, not cancer itself, is often the factor that damages a man's fertility. For example, radiation and chemotherapy treatments kill cells that are in the middle of dividing and growing at a time when they may be more easily damaged. Cancer cells divide much more often than most normal body tissues, so they are killed off while normal cells survive. However, hair and sperm cells are more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation because they grow constantly. Therefore, any cancer treatment using radiation or chemotherapy may cause male infertility.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.