Did you know that men who are diagnosed with Azoospermia (no sperm) are much more likely to have cancer? By “much more” I mean 8 times more likely. EIGHT times! Actually, if you’re over the age of 30 when you’re diagnosed, then you’re only 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. (!!!)
Geez. Kick us while we’re down why don’t ya.
So what does this mean? In my mind it means two things:
1. It means that there’s more of a genetic link to azoospermia than anyone previously thought. That means a whole lot more research needs to be done to identify the genes involved.
2. It probably means that general health and supplements are super important to quality and longevity of life for these men. More so than their fertile counterparts.
As far as the genetics go, I wish I could get everyone who ever reads this blog to do the 23andme genetic testing. The more of us who do the test and answer their questionnaires about make fertility issues, the more likely (and quickly!) researchers will be able to find the common link.
If we know what gene(s) are causing azoospermia, we may be able to find a way to turn it back on using various supplements. Or we may be able to find a way to bypass the bad gene. For example, if, theoretically, MTHFR combined with another gene is having a negative effect on spermatogenesis, we know we can bypass the MTHFR, so maybe bypassing it will encourage spermatogenesis leading to positive microdissection testicular sperm extraction (mTESE).
Regarding supplements and nutrition, obviously nutrition is important when battling cancer. A lot of the nutrients that are required for spermatogenesis are anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are good at fighting cancer.
Even if we get a negative result at the mTESE, I’ll still be researching and doing my best to keep him healthy! Babies or no babies, I plan to keep Mr. E around for a long, long time.
Here’s another link to a different article about this study. As it mentions in the comments, one limitation of the study is that it didn’t distinguish between obstructive and non-obstructive azoospermia.