Birth defect predicts infertility, cancer in adult males

Medical researchers are urging greater compliance with guidelines recommending surgery for undescended testes (UDT) before 18 months of age following new evidence that UDT more than doubles the risk of testicular cancer and increases infertility in adult males.

Led by the University of Sydney researchers and published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, this is the first population-based cohort study to assess both adult fertility and cancer risk after surgical correction for undescended testes in early childhood. The procedure moves an undescended testicle into the scrotum and permanently fixes it there.

“In addition to an increased risk of testicular cancer, we found that boys with undescended testes had decreased paternity and increased use of assisted reproductive technologies for infertility in later life,” said the University of Sydney’s Professor Natasha Nassar, the study’s senior author. “The study provides new evidence to support international guidelines recommending surgery before 18 months for boys with undescended testes to reduce the risk of both testicular cancer and infertility later in life.”

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