Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer

Posted by Sheldon Freedman, MD, on December 13, 2017

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men, with over 230,000 men diagnosed in the United States every year. Although it is common, it is still one of the least well-known cancers and there are several myths circulating about symptoms and potential risk factors.

Prostate Cancer and Vasectomy: The Latest Research

As with any disease, it is important to research, note which risks are significant, and do everything possible to help reduce your risk. Age, race and family history are all significant factors for developing prostate cancer. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime, and if you have a family history, that chance increases to 1 in 3.

Previous studies have suggested that having a vasectomy is linked to developing prostate cancer later in life. In an article published in 2014, researchers claimed that undergoing a vasectomy amplified the risk for a prostate cancer diagnosis.

In 2016, a study was published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology and found that there is no connection between having a vasectomy and later developing prostate cancer, aggressive or otherwise. The researchers determined that there is no difference in rates of prostate cancer or morality between men who had vasectomies and those who had not. The study analyzed data from 360,000 men, which included 42,000 who had undergone a vasectomy.

Additionally, researchers at the Mayo Clinic conducted a study of over 15 million men who had a vasectomy and were followed for 24 years. The researchers used 3 decades of research and found no clear proof of a link between vasectomy and prostate cancer. This is not only the most recent, but largest study to date on a potential link between vasectomy and prostate cancer.

When men think about undergoing a vasectomy, they might have a few concerns: pain, anxiety about the procedure, and the possible effect on sex life. Fear of developing cancer as a result of this procedure is unnecessary, as studies have shown this is not a factor.

Steps that men can take to reduce their risk of prostate cancer include maintaining proper nutrition, visiting your doctor regularly, getting regular exercise, and if you are a smoker, quitting.

If you would like to learn more about prostate cancer prevention or prostate cancer treatment, contact Freedman Urology at 702-732-0282.