Is there a link between prostate cancer and vasectomy?
The answer is no. Most men are quite nervous when it comes to vasectomy. And for three decades, conflicting studies have not reassured them. Some researchers have argued in the past that the surgical procedure may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Indeed, some controversy has been raised over the relationship between vasectomy and prostate cancer. Analysis of the studies currently available has not established that vasectomy causes prostate cancer and the medical community recognizes that vasectomy is not a risk factor for this disease.
Controversy carefully combed
Researchers at the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, set out to settle the controversy a few years ago by combing through the last 30 years of vasectomy studies to determine if fears of cancer were justified. They analyzed 53 studies on the links between vasectomy and prostate cancer, carried out on 15 million men and followed up over a period of 24 years.
Published in the scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine, their analysis revealed an absolute increase of 0.6% in lifetime risk. This is a minimal increase that the researchers describe as "clinically insignificant". The results confirmed those of a study by the American Cancer Society. The latter had found no correlation between vasectomy and prostate cancer.
The study also found that there was no significant correlation between vasectomy and the overall risk of prostate cancer, the risk of high-grade prostate cancer, or the death rate from the disease.
Lead study author and Mayo Clinic urologist Dr. Bimal Bhindi said prostate cancer should not be a factor when a man decides to have a vasectomy.
In response to the myth that vasectomies cause prostate cancer…
Fact is: It was once believed that vasectomies made men more at risk for prostate cancer; this question has been the subject of careful research. Epidemiologists have discovered that there is no connection between vasectomy and the risks that men will develop prostate cancer. This myth has been recognized in the past because doctors of men who have had a vasectomy make them undergo a prostate examination more often than the others and sometimes, they accidentally discover the presence of cancer during their visit.
Other unfounded concerns
Many men fear that a vasectomy could cause serious problems - but these fears are unfounded according to the Mayo Clinic. For example, a vasectomy won’t:
- Affect your sexual performance. A vasectomy won't affect your sex drive or your masculinity in any way other than preventing you from fathering a child. Men have even reported higher sexual satisfaction after a vasectomy.
- Permanently damage your sexual organs. There's very little risk that your testicles, penis, or other parts of your reproductive system will be injured during surgery. In extremely rare cases, injury to the blood supply can lead to the loss of a testicle, but that is unlikely to happen if your surgeon is skilled.
- Increase your risk of certain cancers. Although there have been some concerns about a possible link between vasectomy and testicular or prostate cancer in the past, there's no proven link.
- Increase your risk of heart disease. As with cancer fears, there doesn't appear to be any link between vasectomy and heart problems.
- Cause severe pain. You might feel minor pain and pulling or tugging during surgery, but severe pain is rare. Likewise, after surgery, you might have some pain, but for most men, the pain is minor and goes away after a few days.
A vasectomy is an effective form of birth control, but it won't protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or HIV/AIDS. For that reason, you should use other forms of protection such as condoms if you are at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection — even after you have a vasectomy.
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It's simple and free, like all our services.
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