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Risk of developing prostate cancer following a vasectomy 'small'

The Daily Mail recently published an article claiming that men who have a vasectomy increase their risk of suffering fatal prostate cancer. However, despite the risk appearing statistically significant, it is considerably small in absolute terms. The conclusion was drawn from a US study spanning over 24 years that investigated 49,405 men, a quarter of whom had undergone a vasectomy.

The aim of the study was to compare the risk of prostate cancer in men who had the surgery to the men who hadn't. The results showed that 12.4% of those who had chosen to have the snip developed prostate cancer, compared to the 12.1% who hadn't.

They also deduced that a vasectomy was linked to a 19% increase in metastatic cancer; however this proposed increase in relative risk relates to a miniscule increase in terms of absolute risk which amounts to 0.3% absolute difference in incidence rate.

Vasectomy picture

Studies such as these can be unreliable in the sense that many fundamental aspects are often neglected. In this case, there could have been differences in the men who opted for vasectomy that researchers did not account for, potentially rendering the study redundant.

In hindsight, though the findings could benefit from further research, reports such as these should not be a major concern for men.


For further information visit: http://prostatecanceruk.org/ and http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/07July/Pages/Vasectomy-associated-prostate-cancer-risk-small.aspx