Vasectomy and prostate cancer – is there a link?

Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer

Something you might cover while researching vasectomy is the association of vasectomy and prostate cancer. This came out of some 1980’s studies. However there was never confidence in the results or an explanation about how vasectomy could impact on prostate cancer. Scientists have continued to research this and thankfully we are reassured from several large studies, two from 2017 and one from 2019 just released. One European and two US.

European Study

The European study was what is called a prospective study they started following men, asking questions about their general health all factors of health and prostate cancer. They had 84000 men that they followed with an average of 15years. Fifteen percent of those men had a vasectomy and 4300 ended up having prostate cancer however when looking a the numbers the scientists felt there was no association with those men who had prostate cancer and those men who had vasectomies.

US studies

The US studies was called a meta-analysis where the scientists pooled many studies together that had all looked at that, as a result they had a very large number of men, 15million men in total and they were interested in study bias. Are men have vasectomy just more careful about their about their health, having more prostate screening and in the end that is what they did find. And in the end this is what they did find. They found there was bias in previous studies, that men who have vasectomies are more generally more careful about their health and just be more screening. There has just been a third study released in February 2019 and again a US study. This looked at 111 000 men that were actually part of a diet and health study and looked at a subset of these. And 13000 of those men developed prostate cancer during the study time and 48000 of these men had had a vasectomy. Over what turned out to be 4.25million person years of the study time there was no association of prostate cancer and vasectomy. However they did agree with the prior studies that there was bias men who have vasectomy are generally getting more testing and screening and that is why we are seeing more prostate cancer. That there is no association between the actual vasectomy and cancer developing. Interestingly very high numbers of vasectomy there at 48000 which gives us 43% of the men in this study having had a vasectomy. And I think this demonstrates the acceptance and how keen men are to embrace this method of contraception.

Reduce your prostate cancer risk

There are of course many things you can do to reduce your cancer risks. And that is around not smoking which reduces all cancer risks. Physical activity also reduces all risks of cancer. Also diet there are small studies that give evidence that diets that are lower in red meats and higher in plant sources of nutrition have lower prostate cancer risks. Lastly weight – if you are carrying more weight than ideal then loss of weight can reduce your risk.

To finish on a fun note this was another study, following doctors, 31000 of them in Europe and they found that men who had more frequent ejaculation had much reduced prostate cancer risks. They followed these men for 18years and men with with more ejaculation had less risk. So something to discuss with your partner – they don’t actually separate whether this is from sex or masturbation but any source of ejaculation (cumming) reduces the amount of prostate cancer risk.