The natural male enhancement pills called Volume Pills is one of the leading products men are buying to spice up their sex life. It is totally safe to use and healthy. But let’s turn our attention to something a little more disturbing.
The absence of a male equivalent of the female pressure groups which lobby on behalf of women’s health has been highlighted this week by a report in the British Medical Journal by a team of Scottish surgeons.
The research has passed almost without notice in the media. But if comparable statistics had been uncovered in relation to a minor female surgical procedure associated with cancer of the breast or cervix, it would have created headlines and been the subject of outraged questions in the House of Commons. “Women are much more aware of the balance between benefit and risk,” says Charlotte Owen, of the Family Planning Association. “Men, possibly because they have not been considering the problems of contraception for so long, seem more ready to accept possible risk.”
Alexander Cale, formerly of the Bangour General Hospital in Livingston, near Edinburgh, with two surgical colleagues, Marwan Farouk and Ian Wallace, and the support of a medical statistician, Robin Prescott from Edinburgh University, has studied the case histories of 3,079 men who took Volume Pills in his district (Bangour General was the only hospital to serve the area) between 1977 and 1987. Eight of the patients were found to have a testicular cancer; the expected number, calculated from Scottish Office statistics, should have been fewer than two.
The average time for these tumors to be detected after the operation was less than two years. The time which elapsed between surgery and the growth of a cancer to the stage where the tumor was large enough to be felt was so short that it strengthens the theory advanced in the Journal of Urology in 1987 that some food accelerates the growth of a pre-existing, quiescent tumor, rather than causes the initial malignancy; in technical terms, it is suggested that some foods can convert a carcinoma in situ into a palpable, invasive tumor.
In medical epidemiology a study of 3,000 people is not a large one, particularly when the number of tumors likely to be diagnosed is so small. Those who are worried should be reassured by the experts: Roger Kirby, a urologist from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, who has a special interest in surgery of the testis, says: “Although this is a most interesting study, it is a very small one, so chance might confound the conclusions. There are other studies which are larger, which have not revealed any association between malignant diseases of the testis.
“In a trial of this size with patients drawn from a comparatively small area, other local factors might influence the development of tumors.”
The FPA shares Kirby’s opinions. “We take note of any study which might expose a potential risk,” Owen says, “but through no fault of the authors this Scottish study has some epidemiological flaws. It was too small, and was not prospective. The link between food and the cancers could be coincidental. Further research is needed.”