The vas deferens, illustrated above, is cut or sealed during a vasectomy to prevent the flow of sperm. Shutterstock
Harvard scientists found that the sterilizing procedure increases the risk of “developing the most aggressive form of prostate cancer” by about 20 percent. The new information, though important when considering the surgery, doesn’t necessarily mean vasectomies should be ruled out as a form of contraception, according to cancer specialist Malcolm Mason.
The study revealed a stronger link with the most serious forms of prostate cancer, with rates of advanced or lethal disease rising by 20% in men who had the procedure. The danger seemed to be highest among men who had a vasectomy before the age of 38…
The study goes a long way to ruling out biases that have undermined previous studies, such as the tendency for men who have had vasectomies to have more medical checkups.
Malcolm Mason, of Cancer Research UK, said: “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…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.”
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
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