A new study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer, showing that men who take muscle building supplements, specifically ones that contain creatine and androstenedione, have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer compared to men who do not take these supplements.

Furthermore the risk seemed to be even higher in men who start taking the supplements under the age of 25 or who use multiple supplements over many years. According to the study the relationship between the supplement use and cancer risk was very strong.

We have seen an increase in testicular cancer , with the risk almost doubling in the past 4 decades from 3.7 cases per 100000 in 1975 to 5.9 cases per 100000 in 2011 in the USA and up till now the reason for this has not been clear. This is the first time a link between these supplements and testicular cancer has been shown and might start explaining this dramatic increase over recent years.

This study is important as there are few modifiable risk factors in testicular cancer.

The study looked at nearly 900 men who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and found that their was a 65 % increased risk in developing testicular cancer in the men who used supplements at least once a week for at least 4 weeks. This risk increased to 177% in men who used multiple supplements  or used it for longer or started before the age of 25.

Although further work will be needed to look at the potential link between supplements and cancer it is food for thought and a warning that perhaps you should be cutting down on the use of supplements. It is also very important for young men to self examine their testes regularly and if they find any lump for them to see a doctor straight away. Testicular cancer is still a killer if it is diagnosed late, so prevention and modifying your risk is key.

If you are worried about any lumps please see your doctor as soon as possible.