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Link between Vasectomies and aggressive Prostate Cancer?

 

A new study has shown that men who have undergone a vasectomy have a 10 per cent increased risk of developing prostate cancer plus a higher risk of contracting the most aggressive form of the disease.

Thousands of men in the UK have a vasectomy every year as a permanent method of birth control. The procedure is quick and straightforward and prevents the release of sperm when a man ejaculates. However, there has been a drop in recent numbers as men consider the possibility of a break down in their current relationship and don’t want to rule out all their options for the future.

Now there is news that the procedure can increase the chances of developing lethal prostate cancer.

The research is from the respected Harvard Medical School who tracked 50,000 men, aged between 40 and 75, for over 24 years. This was the largest study ever to examine any link between the procedure and cancer.

Their findings showed that in the group, 25 per cent had vasectomies and 6,023 cases of cancer were diagnosed including 811 fatal cases. The new study took into account the fact that their research may have picked up prostate cancers early because the men were being tested for the study.

Interestingly, though, vasectomy was not linked with an increased risk of low-grade prostate cancer. Instead it was only associated with a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and a greater risk of fatal prostate cancer, the study authors said.

Even among men who had regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening tests for prostate cancer, those who had a vasectomy were 56 percent more likely to develop fatal prostate cancer. The link was strongest among men who had a vasectomy at a younger age.

It was noted though that the results must not be taken out of context. Overall, the absolute risk of developing deadly prostate cancer was small, just 16 out of every 1,000 men.

As with all new research, the recommendations are now for further investigations to be made to verify the links between vasectomy and prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer UK are advising a cautious approach about these new results, especially as overall there appears to be a relatively small increase in the number of men who go on to develop aggressive prostate cancer.

They have more information on:
http://prostatecanceruk.org/information/who-is-at-risk/infographic-what-is-my-risk

 


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