Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer – What’s the connection?
Vasectomy is a permanent and most effective male contraceptive method. In comparison with tubal ligation in females, vasectomy is more safe and economical. From last three decades, experts are debating over possible link between vasectomy and prostate cancer. However, a recent meta-analysis on 3 million plus males proved that there is no potential association.
Despite being the most reliable procedure, only 3% of population around the world go for a vasectomy. One reason maybe the 30 years old debate surrounding the possible link of vasectomy with prostate cancer. This argument started in 1980s where several researchers conducted studies that fell on both sides of the debate. Many meta-analyses were carried out to settle this dispute but, even those failed in doing so.
Recently many researchers teamed up to conduct largest systematic literature review and meta-analysis to date, an attempt to resolve this prolonged debate. The paper was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which included data of 3 million people across 52 case studies. As per authors, they paid exceptional attention to study quality and set out to determine whether there is any possible link between vasectomy and prostate cancer, advanced or high-risk prostate cancer or life-threatening prostate cancer.
How Connected Are They?
After finishing analysis, the research team came up with conclusion that there is no potential link between vasectomy and progressive, risky or lethal prostate cancer. However, there was a weak association between vasectomy and any prostate cancer that was closer to the null with increasing robust study design. This means that since the man has already visited urologist for vasectomy procedure, chances are he will return to urologist for prostate specific antigen testing. And because the person is being tested, there are greater chances to be diagnosed for prostate cancer.
Still the associated risk is almost negligible and it should not be the reason to avoid a procedure which is most reliable and effective.
According to Dr. Eric A. Klein – chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute in Ohio, this meta-analysis is the largest study ever conducted and since no significant risk was found in men who previously had vasectomy, therefore, this should relax everyone’s mind.
As per estimation, in year between 2006 to 2008, 10.3 million American women had undergone sterilization process whereas, only 3.7 million men had vasectomy.
This finding was much needed and will be helpful in encouraging couples to utilize vasectomy for sterilization purposes. There is no simpler method than vasectomy.
- Pernar, C. H., Downer, M. K., Wilson, K. M., & Stampfer, M. J. (2017). Vasectomy and Risk of Prostate Cancer: How to Weigh Current Evidence.
- Jacobs, E. J., Anderson, R. L., Stevens, V. L., Newton, C. C., Gansler, T., & Gapstur, S. M. (2016). Vasectomy and prostate cancer incidence and mortality in a large US cohort. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 34(32), 3880-3885.