Is there an increased risk of prostate or testicular cancer for men who have had a vasectomy?
It appears that, for many years, there has been talk that men who have had a vasectomy are at a greater risk of prostate or testicular cancer than anyone else, but is it true?
In 1993, a four year study involving over 50,000 men, and backed by the Harvard Medical School in the United States, appeared to determine that there was a 66% greater risk of prostate cancer among the men who had the vasectomy.
The figures showed that the rate of seven out of every 1,000 men per year, getting these cancers, increased to eleven per 1,000 men, after having a vasectomy.
However, later studies have laid great doubt on those conclusions.
A study in New Zealand, a country with the highest rate of vasectomy in the world, and with meticulous cancer records,compared more than 900 men with prostate cancer with about 1200 healthy men, and found no difference in prostate cancer rates (JAMA, 2002; 287: 3110-5).
Vasectomy does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, even after 25 years or more.
A 2005 United States report concluded that there was no difference for high-grade cancer but that the risk of low-grade cancer was higher. The result was 78 prostate cancer cases confirmed between 1996 and 2004, among the 3,373 men in the test.
With all these tests and studies, this particular quote made me wonder about the reliability of the studies.
“It could be, for example, that prostate cancer is more readily picked up in men submitting to vasectomy because such men are more health conscious and more likely to be regularly examined by a doctor”
- Vasectomy and risk of prostate cancer: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12069674
- Can vasectomy cause testicular cancer? www.cancerhelp.org.uk/about-cancer/cancer-questions/can-vasectomy-cause-testicular-cancer
- Testicular cancer risks and causes: www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/testicular-cancer/about/testicular-cancer-risks-and-causes
- Prostate cancer – risk factors: info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/prostate/riskfactors/prostate-cancer-risk-factors