When a new study came out in 2014 suggesting that men who had a vasectomy were at increased odds of getting prostate cancer, questions and apprehensions emerged. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), reported an “increased risk of the most lethal kind of prostate cancer” for men who had vasectomies done. This has since caused worrisome thoughts for men who previously had the procedure and increased hesitations for those thinking about getting one in the future.
What is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is one of the most common permanent birth control options for men with some 50 million men worldwide having undergone the procedure. In the procedure, the male vas deferens are severed, preventing the release of sperm in semen. With the short recovery time and affordable costs, it has made its mark as a very popular procedure. However, recent studies have caused some controversy leaving people not sure what to believe.
2016 American Cancer Society Study
Two years after the 2014 study was released, the American Cancer Society published a new contradicting study – vasectomy does not, in fact, increase the risk of prostate cancer. Data that was collected in 1982 examined the relationship between vasectomies and prostate cancer in men over a 30 year period. In this study, researchers found no correlation between the two as well as no supporting data that vasectomies increase the risk of dying from prostate cancer. American Cancer Society claims that because there was only a small increase found in the 2014 study and no correlation whatsoever in their most recent 2016 study, there is no reason for men to worry about prostate cancer when considering a vasectomy. That being said, no one study is or will be 100% absolute going forward so it’s always best to talk with your doctor if you have questions or hesitations.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
While there’s no absolute method for preventing prostate cancer, making healthy choices and living an active lifestyle may help decrease your chances. It’s recommended that you:
- Choose a healthy diet
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Do not smoke
Although research is always subject to change, we hope this helps you make a more informed decision when considering a vasectomy. If you have additional concerns, please contact board-certified urologist Peter Burrows, MD today by calling (520) 731-0600.