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Last Edited: 5/12/2005

Testicular Cancer: Etiologic Factors
04/1999 - 04/2002

Although testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young males in the United States, and its incidence is increasing worldwide, not much is known about the etiology of this illness. Due to the early age of diagnosis, there has been increasing speculation that prenatal and perinatal factors may play a role in the development of testicular cancer. Exposure to exogenous estrogens during pregnancy have been associated with alterations in fetal sexual development and have been postulated to be related to an increased risk of birth defects and testicular cancer, and decreases in sperm quality worldwide. The ability to link population-based testicular cancer registry data with birth certificate information in California provides a unique opportunity to evaluate maternal, paternal, and perinatal risk factors which have been little studied. Furthermore, the capability of geographical information systems (GIS) to link the maternal address to a specific geographic location will allow the investigation of specific hypotheses relating to maternal environmental exposures of exogenous estrogens. Specifically, this proposal aims to:
  • Examine the association between perinatal and prenatal factors (such as maternal and paternal age, infant birthweight and gestational age, birth order, history of stillbirth, parity, interval since last birth, etc.) and the risk of testicular cancer.

  • Examine the association between population socio-demographic factors (variables such as employment, income, poverty, and education) and the risk of testicular cancer. Socio-demographic factors will be examined both at the time of birth and at the time of diagnosis to identify risk factors which could act either as cancer initiators or promoters.

  • Examine the exogenous estrogen hypothesis by:

    • Evaluating differences in testicular cancer risk by area characteristics (such as agricultural employment rates and urban/rural status) at the time of birth and the time of diagnosis using historic and current data from the U.S. Census.

    • Evaluating the association between testicular cancer risk and proximity to agricultural areas and land use using historic and current digital land use GIS coverages and temporal satellite imagery data.

    • Evaluating the association between census-tract defined levels of drinking water contaminants which are suspected endocrine disruptors such as DBCP, atrazine, chlordane, 2,4-D, endrin, heptachlor, lindane, methoxychlor, and toxaphene with testicular cancer risk at both the time of birth and time of diagnosis.

    • Examining differences in testicular cancer risk by geographically defined pesticide application rates and proximity of pesticide applications to residences

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