Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are only found in younger patients in their reproductive years.
According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, sperm production is harmed or halted due to treatment for these white blood cell cancers. Rebecca Sokol, MD, and researchers conducted a study on 57 patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and 18 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who used a sperm bank prior to cancer treatment. Researchers wanted to study various treatments and analyze how each one affects fertility for men.
Comparing the patients’ sperm to sperm from 257 fertile, healthy men, researchers studied the patients’ sperm before cancer treatment and 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months after cancer treatment. The patients’ treatment included combination chemotherapy with or without radiation. Results indicated that sperm density, total count, motility, and vitality all decreased for patients with lymphoma.
A total halt in sperm production or an extended time before sperm production resumed were linked to alkylating chemotherapy, which damages DNA while it attacks cancer cells. Researchers found that prior to treatment, patients with lymphoma had more damaged sperm than their healthy counterparts. Although damage levels improved between 3 to 6 months after cancer treatment, the patients’ sperm were found to be more damaged than healthy sperm.
Treatment for lymphoma may lower men’s fertility, new research indicates. Both Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which are cancers of the body’s white blood cells, often affect young people who are still in their reproductive years. For men, treatment for these cancers can harm or halt sperm production.