Muscle-Enhancing Supplements Increase the Risk of Testicular Cancer


Men involved in body-building activities are reportedly taking supplements in the form of pills and powders. These supplements contain either creatine or androstenedione. These ingredients are found to enhance the risk of developing testicular cancer in people according to a study. The authors of the study have published the results in British Journal of Cancer. The study further found that the risk is more in those people who have been using the multiple supplements for many years. The research group has banked on the huge data available about the link between testicular damage and at least one supplement usage in the public domain. Hence, this study is mainly an analytical exercise. In this article, we would be visiting the important points raised by this interesting study for the benefit of the health-conscious readers,

Study on Testicular Cancer

The medical name of this type of cancer is testicular germ cell cancer. According to the lead author of this study, the observed relationship of long-term use of supplements and the onset of this type of cancer is more striking. This research group from Yale University and Brown University School of Public Health has conducted this path-breaking study. The study revealed that the longer use of supplements and multiple supplement usage equally lead to this deadly disease. However, the study group could not find out the cause of this relationship. However, it is strikingly clear from the data compiled and analyzed. In 2011, the testicular cancer was found in 5.9 cases after the screening of 1 lakh men. On the other hand, the health authorities were able to discover only 3.7 cases from the screening of 1 lakh people in 1975. Hence, the research team consider this type of cancer as a mysterious one. This study is termed as the first analytical epidemiological study to perceive the possible link between supplement usage and testicular cancer.

Modus Operandi

The group responsible for the study conducted detailed interviews of over 900 men from places such as Massachusetts and Connecticut. Later, the research crew prepared detailed questionnaire and distributed to the volunteers of this study. From the detailed studies based on the response, they have found that 356 people had some history of testicular cancer. During the course of the interview, the researchers asked the volunteers certain questions on supplement usage, exercise, drinking and smoking habits, prior injury to the groin and family history of the disease. This exercise was to cross verify the input data from the volunteers. From this data, they were able to show the link between supplement usage and risk of developing testicular cancer.

Know the Liver Cancer Risks and Latest Research Advancements

Aware of the Disease and the Risks:

Liver cancer otherwise known as hepatic cancer, starts primarily in the liver and the most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma. Worldwide, there are many risk factors responsible for this.

  • Cirrhosis, a condition in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue and the liver does not function properly, leads to liver cancer;
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B and C virus that leads to cirrhosis;
  • Birth defects;
  • Excessive alcohol intake.;
  • Obesity and Diabetes – excess fat being deposited in the liver.

In the United States, the common cause of liver cancer is infection with hepatitis C.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms not to be felt until the later stages of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms are unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, an enlarged liver, swelling and pain in the abdomen, itching, nausea or vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), back pain.

How to diagnose?

It can be diagnosed through a blood test, ultrasound, imaging scans like MRI or CT scan or through biopsy. Ultrasound is the first test with the usage of sound waves to create an image of tumors growing in the liver on a video screen. A small sample of the tumor cells removed to conduct a biopsy test to confirm.

Latest Research Advancements:

With the advancement in the medical technology, continuous research going on in treating liver cancer. Though removal of the affected portion through surgery can be an effective form of treatment, it will not work out to all the patients. Scientists are looking out for causes and innovative treatment methods to cure it. Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors such as the patient’s overall health, the stage of cancer, the severity of the damage caused to the remaining areas of the liver etc. The following areas of research may include new advanced options for patients through clinical trials.

Brachytherapy – In this advanced method, catheters are placed directly in the tumor giving a high radiation dose to the tumor wherein the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues will be reduced and will not create any harm.

Chemotherapy advances – Newer therapies are targeted only to destroy specific cancer cells. Instead of giving chemo alone, it is given along with combination therapy that can shrink a tumor to enable doctors to perform surgery safely.

Ablation Techniques – Instead of removing the tumor, this ablation therapy kills it with hot or cold energy.

Liver Transplant – This is an effective treatment where a surgery is performed to replace a diseased liver with a healthier one from a donor.

Can this disease be preventable? – Obviously it can be preventable. The most significant risk factor for this, is chronic infection with HBV and HCV viruses which can be spread by sharing contaminated needles and also by having unprotected sex. Excessive alcohol consumption is also one of the main causes. You can lower your risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet. It is also important to avoid infection with the hepatitis viruses.

Increase Awareness to Prevent:

Liver cancer is treatable and sometimes even curable when it is detected early. So it is important to be aware of the risk factors and also the latest treatment options. Organize an awareness campaign in your community to make people understand about the disease, the importance of early diagnosis and the preventive measures to be adopted. To increase exposure and awareness, support your campaign with some awareness giveaway gifts. Though there are many products available in the market, using customized items like silicone wristbands with an awareness message will go a long way. You will get these in different colors, fonts, sizes, and styles and people love to wear these stylish and fashion accessories on a daily basis.

Debunking Skin Cancer Myths

There was once a time, when hearing that someone is suffering from cancer was a rare thing, because cancer was not a prominent disease. However, today, most people know someone who is suffering from cancer in some part of their body. Skin cancer has become one of the most prevalent types of cancer.

What is interesting is that while there are several things that people do not know about skin cancer, there are just as many myths associated with it as well. Here are some of the most common myths, related to skin cancer:

• People with dark skin are not at risk for sun damage or skin cancer:

It is considered that people with lighter skin are more prone to skin cancer, while people with darker skin are safe. Although people with darker skin are comparatively safer, in no way is their skin completely safe from skin cancer or damage caused due to the sun’s rays. People with darker skin too need to take care of their skin, especially when they are stepping out in the sun, and they too need to invest in good quality sunscreen. As a matter of fact, darker people face greater danger, because detecting skin cancer in them is much tougher and in many cases, the diagnosis comes a little too late.

• Simply because there are not too much outdoor activities in one’s routine, they have less risk for skin cancer:

You might not be someone who spends hours outdoors, but you would obviously step out for a few minutes each day. This could be to send your child to school or purchase groceries; it could even be the time you take to walk from the car park into the mall. Adding up all these tiny amounts of times of sun exposure would be enough to lead to skin damage. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that brief amounts of time spent outdoors, between 10 am and 4 pm, are more than enough to cause squamous cell cancer. Although squamous cell cancer might not be as severe or serious as melanoma, it can become extremely difficult to treat, if not caught in time.

• Those who are out in the snow, skiing or snowboarding need not wear sunscreen, because during the winter months, the sun is not strong enough:

The winter months are the most dangerous, because during the summers, people knowingly take all the required protection, such as hats, clothing and sunscreen. However, during the winter months, the sun provides a sense of warmth that most people enjoy, but little do they realise that the sun is still powerful enough to cause damage. In addition, when you are out on the white snow, the rays of the sun tend to get reflected, leading to greater chances of skin cancer. This is why sunscreen is just as important in the winter months.

• If the day is cloudy, you can skip the sunscreen:

Simply because the sun is not visible does not mean that it is not there or that it cannot cause any damage. Even when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, the ultraviolet rays are able to penetrate and they can cause much damage to your skin. While you might not feel the heat of the sun as much, there is still the chance of you getting a sunburn. This is why, even on a cloudy day, you need to make sure that you wear plenty of sunscreen and have protective clothing when stepping out.

• All sunscreens are the same:

While most people think that sunscreens that have a sun protection factor or SPF of 30 is the best, there are actually several levels to this protective lotion too. Understanding the same is the first step towards being sun safe. For starters, if you do not apply ample amount of sunscreen or apply it incorrectly, then even the most powerful sunscreen might not be enough. If you are someone who does not like to slather on sunscreen, then it would make sense to invest in a higher grade. People who spend greater amount of time in the sun and tend to sweat a lot will have to apply more sunscreen.

• It is only UVB radiation that can lead to skin damage and cancer:

Both UVA and UVB are dangerous and can lead to damaged skin, which is why you need to look for a sunscreen that provides protection against both.

• Tanning will reduce the chance of getting skin cancer:

Simply because you are someone who gets tanned and not sunburnt, does not mean that you will not get skin cancer. The very fact that you are getting tanned means that your skin has been altered. When the colour of your skin changes, it is an indication of damage and studies have shown that more the tanning on your skin, the greater the chances of you getting cancer! When your skin has been exposed to too much sun, there is an increase in the amount of melanin and this could lead to melanoma. Some of the other problems would include wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation.

• Cut off a mole that looks suspicious and you will be safe from cancer:

A mole might look bad and cutting it off could provide you with a cosmetic solution that makes you happy. However, in many cases, the mole is actually step one to skin cancer, which is why, the moment you see a suspicious mole, it would be best that you head to a dermatologist, who will be able to decipher the same.