Vasectomy Tied To Aggressive Prostate Cancer In New Study

A new study focusing on men who have had a vasectomy and later incidence of prostate cancer has been published, and the findings are certainly worrisome.

The new research on vasectomy patients and prostate risk was published in the July 7 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and in it, researchers from Harvard university examined data gathered over decades following men who have had the sterilization procedure and others who did not undergo it.

More than 49,400 American men participated in the study for 24 years. Research began on the tens of thousands of men back in 1986, and during the course of the study, 6,023 cases of prostate cancer occurred in the subjects.

Of those affected men, 811 died of prostate cancer. One in four study participants had had a vasectomy, and of those subjects, a ten percent increase in prostate cancer risk overall was discovered.

According to CBS, the affected men were not deemed to have a higher risk of “low-grade prostate cancer.” However, researchers identified a 20 percent higher risk of more aggressive forms of prostate cancer nearly the same rate of fatal prostate cancer risk.

Overall, per thousand men in the study, sixteen developed a fatal form of prostate cancer.

Study co-author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release:

“This study follows our initial publication on vasectomy and prostate cancer in 1993, with 19 additional years of follow-up and tenfold greater number of cases. The results support the hypothesis that vasectomy is associated with an increased risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer.”

Malcolm Mason, of Cancer Research UK, commented on the findings:

“This is an extremely important study, the largest one of its kind looking at the link between vasectomies and prostate cancer. Importantly, the extra risk of developing prostate cancer after having a vasectomy appears to be small but of the few that do go on to develop the disease, a higher number will develop an aggressive form.”

Mason said that informed use of vasectomy and risk are crucial when it comes to preventing cancer and managing risk:

“Vasectomy is still an important option for contraception, but this information should form part of the discussion before a man makes an informed decision as to whether or not it is right for him. Future research should look at a combined analysis of this study with others of a similar nature – and if these findings are confirmed, more research will be needed to work out why vasectomy seems to have this effect on prostate cancer risk.”

Additional research on prostate cancer and vasectomy procedures has been suggested to further understand why an elevated risk may occur.

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