Vasectomy and prostate cancer have a complicated relationship. While there were past studies linking the two, more recent, large-scale research has found no significant connection between these two conditions.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, in the United States and the entire world. It’s also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men, with more than 250,000 cases annually.
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that permanently prevents pregnancy by cutting and sealing the tubes that carry sperm to the penis. It’s an effective form of birth control, with a success rate of more than 99%.
That said, it’s important to remember that while vasectomy may have some small effect on prostate cancer risk, there are many other far more significant factors at play. So even if there is a connection, it’s likely to be because other external conditions may affect those affected.
Let’s look at the factors that increase your risk of prostate cancer, so you can make informed decisions about your health.
Will a Vasectomy Increase Prostate Cancer Risk?
There have been conflicting reports on whether vasectomies are linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
One longitudinal study involving 26,538 Danish men found that there’s a small but statistically significant relationship between vasectomies and prostate cancer risk. There was no absolute presence to showcase the association, but there was an observable relative risk factor nevertheless.
However, another study that had 326,607 participants who had a vasectomy, 3,462 of which later had prostate cancer, concluded that there was no independent association between these two variables.
In addition, some medical researchers cited that positive-associated studies were limited or had other methodological flaws such as selection and recall biases.
More examination needs to be done on the matter, as the evidence in its current state is inconclusive. While there might be a connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer risk, it’s most likely because of the presence of other underlying conditions.
Side Effects of Vasectomies
With about 500,000 men in the United States getting a vasectomy each year, it’s one of the most common surgical procedures. The chances of experiencing serious complications from vasectomies are fairly low as well.
However, as with any surgery, there are some risks and side effects associated with a vasectomy. Complications can be both minor and major, and short-term and long-term.
Here are the side effects of vasectomies:
- Hematoma: This is a local collection of blood outside of the blood vessels, usually appearing as a bruise. It can happen when the skin puncture sites don’t close properly.
- Post-vasectomy pain syndrome: Also known as chronic testicular pain, this is a condition where men experience long-term or intermittent discomfort in the testicles.
- Sperm granulomas: A small lump made of extravasated sperm may appear two to three weeks post-surgery.
- Epididymitis: An inflammation of the epididymis, which is the structure that connects the testicle to the vas deferens.
There are also a lot of misconceptions about vasectomies. For example, some people think that a botched vasectomy can increase your risk of sexual dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
However, the likelihood of either of these situations occurring is very low. Vasectomies don’t affect the production of testosterone nor does it affect your erectile function and ability to ejaculate.
If you want more assurance, you can contact a doctor to discuss high- and low-grade prostate cancer in more detail.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Many other factors have been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. These include:
- Family history: If you have a father or brother who has had prostate cancer, your risk of developing the disease is two to three times higher than average.
- Age: 60% of the population of people with prostate cancer are older than 65.
- Race: African-American men are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. People from North America and northern parts of Europe may also have a higher likelihood of getting this disease.
- Obesity: There is a correlation between an unhealthy diet and an increased risk of prostate cancer compared to other types of cancer like breast cancer.
- Agent Orange exposure: Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk of developing prostate gland problems.
- Smoking: Studies have shown that heavy smokers are 20-30% more likely to succumb to prostate cancer than non-smokers.
That being said, just because you have one or more of these risk factors does not mean that you will definitely get prostate cancer. These are some factors that may increase your likelihood of developing the disease.
If you are worried about contracting aggressive prostate cancer, it’s essential to talk to your doctor. They will be able to help you understand your individual risk of getting high-grade prostate cancer.
Ways to Reduce Prostate Cancer Incidence
If you’re looking to treat or prevent prostate cancer, there are many options you can consider. Some lifestyle changes that may help include:
- Eating a healthy diet: This means eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also means limiting your intake of saturated fats, red meat, and processed foods.
- Exercising regularly: Aim for at least 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise for the week to prevent clogged arteries.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: This can help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer and other conditions.
- Quit smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Cutting it out of your routine can help you decrease your risk of getting it later on.
- Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can be detrimental to your health. It is recommended that men limit their alcohol intake to two drinks per day.
Cleveland’s Male Health Specialists Can Help Men Improve Their Sexual Health
Vasectomies are a very effective form of contraception with a low risk of complications. At the current state, there’s insufficient evidence to suggest that vasectomies increase your risk of prostate cancer.
That said, prostate cancer is a serious disease that can be deadly if left untreated.
Being proactive about your prostate health and speaking with a doctor can help you gain better insight into the disease and potentially lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.
The medical professionals at Precise Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.