New Research on Testicular Cancer Survivorship

Last Updated: May 11, 2018

Dr. Daniel Hayes discusses new research on testicular cancer survivorship presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.

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Low Testosterone After Testicular Cancer Is Common, Linked to Chronic Health Problems

ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO: This is a really cool study. And just to personalize it for a moment, almost--well, 40 years ago this year, actually--I was a medical student and I was assigned to the oncology ward, and the attending was Dr. Larry Einhorn. I had no interest in being an oncologist. And he was busy at the time as a young investigator and faculty member showing that we could cure testicular cancer. He was the guy who showed it, I was a med student at the time, and I said, "that's what I want to do." In fact, in my presidential address, I'm going to highlight his first cure, Mr. John Cleland, who turns out to be a friend of mine.

What's the point of this? The point of this is, most of what Dr. Einhorn was concerned about was, can we cure men who had a 90% chance of dying within 2 years before he came along with the drug cisplatin. This study, which comes out of Dr. Einhorn's group from Indiana, tells us that once men are cured, you need to worry about the rest of their lives. We know that low testosterone levels, which are a common consequence of being treated for testicular cancer can result in a number of medical problems: higher cholesterol, increased risk of coronary artery, of heart disease, and stroke. As well as a sense of well-being and of course, sexual function. All of those things are important. And what they've suggested is that if you're following a man who's had testicular cancer, you've got to be checking his testosterone levels, and bringing him back up to normal.

This is not an advertisement for giving testosterone to otherwise normal men. This is for men who've been treated for testicular cancer and leading them back into a normal life. My friend John has had 3 children, he's run several marathons, he just retired after a full career as a school teacher and high school coach, he's lived a good life, and he'll continue to live a normal life. We can do this, and this is a sign that we're really maturing, that we know how to do it.

[Closing and Credits]

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