Babies born with undescended testes are more likely to develop cancer and infertility when they are adults, new research suggests.
Male babies born with their testicles in the abdomen instead of in the scrotum have 2.4 times more risk of testicular cancer in adulthood than those without the congenital defect, an Australian study found.
Having undescended testes at birth, known as cryptorchidism, also makes men twice as likely to seek fertility treatments, the research adds.
The link between cryptorchidism and cancer is not clear, however, previous research suggests that the testes reach a higher temperature when they are in the abdomen, which may trigger the development of tumors in later life.
This may also be the reason why men who are born with cryptorchidism may suffer from infertility. The testicles are on the outside of the body due to sperm production at 35 ° C, which is 2 ° C colder than body temperature.
Approximately one in every 25 children in the United Kingdom and three percent in the United States. UU They are born with cryptorchidism. Although your testicles usually go down on their own, one in 100 requires treatment.
Children born with undescended testes are more likely to have cancer as adults (stock)
WHAT ARE NON-ACCREDITED TESTICULES?
Undescended testicles, known as cryptorchidism, occur when a child's testicles are in his abdomen and not in his scrotum.
In most cases, the testicles gradually move down after three to six months.
However, about one in every 100 children have testes that will not descend unless they are treated.
During pregnancy, a child's testicles form in his abdomen and descend to the scrotum one or two months before birth.
It is not clear why some children are born with undescended testes, and most cases are healthy.
Being born prematurely, having a low birth weight and a family history of the condition, all increase a child's risk of cryptorchidism.
If necessary, the treatment usually involves an operation, called an orchiopexy, to move the testicles to their correct position.
The surgery must be done before a child's first birthday.
This is because cryptorchidism is related to testicular cancer and infertility later in life.
How the investigation was carried out
Researchers from the University of Sydney analyzed 350,835 children who were born in Western Australia between 1970 and 1999. The participants were followed until 2016.
Data records were examined to determine if participants had birth defects, hospital admissions or cancer diagnoses, as well as whether they underwent assisted reproduction treatments.
The findings were published in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
& # 39; Early surgery can reduce the risk of malignancy and male infertility & # 39;
The results also suggest that for every six months of delay in the surgical movement of the undescended testes from the abdomen to the scrotum, the subsequent risk of a testicular cancer baby increases by six percent.
Men who are born with this condition are also 20% more likely to suffer infertility.
The study's author, Professor Natasha Nassar, said: "The study provides new evidence to support international guidelines that recommend surgery before 18 months for children with undescended testes to reduce the risk of testicular cancer and infertility later in life. life".
Around the world, about 75 percent of male babies with cryptorchidism are operated after 18 months.
The lead author, Dr. Francisco Schneuer, added: "Early surgery can reduce the risk of malignancy and male infertility, and ultimately has the potential to reduce future adult male reproductive disorders.
"Early diagnosis, continuous examination and control by parents and health professionals and the timely reference to surgery of children with undescended testes is important to ensure compliance with the guidelines."