Emory University has received a $200,173 grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) to fund research examining psychosexual dysfunction in men who survive childhood cancer.
Lillian Meacham, MD, Emory School of Medicine professor of pediatrics, will lead the study exploring the incidence and risk factors for testicular and sexual problems in 5,500 men treated for cancer as children and adolescents. All are enrolled in the national Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and were diagnosed between 1970 and 1986.
The Emory study is three-fold and will evaluate the physiological and psychological functioning of male childhood cancer survivors when compared to their male siblings; assess survivors' perceptions of their risks of decreased fertility; and determine if and how often cancer survivors utilized assisted reproductive technologies such as sperm cryopreservation to spare their fertility.
"Previous studies have associated exposure to chemotherapy and radiation with decreased sperm production and other reproductive problems," Dr. Meacham says. "But less is known about how male cancer survivors actually perceive their infertility risks. This study will shed light on some of the reproductive health obstacles some men face even after they've beat cancer."
The findings of a similar study of female pediatric cancer survivors released last year reported that girls who survive cancer are 13 times more likely to experience premature menopause (onset before age 40) than other women. The risk was highest for women whose childhood cancer treatment involved radiation to the ovaries and/or chemotherapy with alkylating agents.
Founded in 1997 by champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, the LAF funds research focused on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors across physical, psychosocial and practical challenges.
For more information about the Emory cancer research study, call 404-785-1717.