Here’s scary news for men who have undergone a vasectomy: new research shows that the procedure could increase the risk of developing deadly prostate cancer by an incredible ten per cent.
The finding is based on a 24-year study (1986-2010) of 50,000 men aged 40 to 75 carried out by Harvard health researchers. Roughly one in four men participating in the study had vasectomies and just over 6,000 developed prostate cancer.
Researchers found that the men most at risk were those who had received a vasectomy prior to their 38th birthday. “We saw that in men who had a vasectomy earlier in life there was a greater risk of developing advanced or lethal forms of the disease,” noted the study’s lead author, Harvard School of Public Health associate professor Lorelei Mucci. “This may be because of the timings and the impact on the prostate.”
The good news: only 2 per cent of the men participating in the study developed the most aggressive form of prostate cancer, which makes treatment very difficult to succeed.
Still, doctors are drawing a clear line between vasectomy procedures and the development of this most aggressive form of prostate cancer.
“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,” noted Professor Malcolm Mason, a prostate cancer expert at Cancer Research UK.
“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.”