Do Vasectomies Reduce The Risk of Prostate Cancer?

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If you or your partner are considering getting a vasectomy, you might be wondering what the risks and benefits of receiving the surgery are. 

While many people utilize supplements such as Prostate 911 or other natural vitamins to reduce their chances of prostate cancer, other people might have told you that getting a vasectomy can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and might even benefit your overall health. 

This guide will cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting a vasectomy including what current research says about it the procedure reduces prostate cancer or not. 

What is a Vasectomy? 

During a vasectomy, a surgeon will cut the vas deferens. These are the small tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm from the testicles. Once sperm reaches the urethra, it’s mixed with many different things to make semen which is the substance that reaches the egg and creates a pregnancy. 

When men have a vasectomy, the chances of them getting a woman pregnant are very minimal, so it’s a popular method of family planning for men who don’t want any more children. 

Vasectomies and Prostate Cancer 

According to the American Urological Association, men who have a vasectomy are not at a greater risk of getting prostate cancer compared to men who do not have a vasectomy. 

So, when men schedule their vasectomy, doctors will discuss the various risks, but prostate cancer is not considered an important subject to discuss with patients. 

Research on Vasectomies and Prostate Cancer 

However, some doctors and surgeons will mention the risk of prostate cancer, or they will at least refer their patients to read some studies so they can see the research for themselves. The research is very conflicting which can make it confusing for some men to decide on receiving a vasectomy or not. 

Here are some of the most recent studies done and what they say about vasectomies and prostate cancer:

2017 Study 

This study was done by peer-reviewing 53 other studies that were done between the years of 1990 and 2017. There were almost 15 million men studied making this a huge and reliable study. 

It showed that there is a slight risk of prostate cancer in men who have had a vasectomy but the number is so slight that it’s considered insignificant. So, from this study, the advantages of a vasectomy outweigh the very small risk of getting prostate cancer in the future. 

2021 Review 

This study is very similar to the one done in 2017, but there were almost 17 million participants so the study pool was much larger. 

Researchers found very different evidence compared to what was concluded in 2017. This study showed that vasectomies can greatly increase the risk of getting mild to severe prostate cancer. 

However, there is no clear link between getting a vasectomy and the risk of death caused by prostate cancer. 

A 2022 study used a smaller pool of participants but they found that there is about a 6% increase in prostate cancer in men who have had vasectomies compared to men who have not.  

Studies in Mice 

Studies in mice have shown that there is a slight risk of getting prostate cancer for mice who underwent vasectomies. This is because the mice that have vasectomies showed more of the ZKSCAN3 protein in their blood which usually results in an increased risk of prostate cancer.

However, studies done in animals cannot always for sure tell what will happen in humans, even though it gives a good idea of what is possible. 

Overall, many of the studies done had flaws and doctors do not consider them to be an accurate representation of if vasectomies can cause prostate cancer or not. 

Even though there seems to be a slight correlation between vasectomies and prostate cancer, the link is very slight and not considered significant to most health professionals. 

Prostate Cancer and Vasectomy Reversals

When a man undergoes a vasectomy reversal, the vas deferens are connected back to their original position, and sperm can travel to the testicles again and make sperm. This means if a man has a vasectomy reversal, they can get a woman pregnant again. 

There have not been many studies done on vasectomy reversals and prostate cancer so the evidence is very unclear. However, the few studies that have been done do not show an increase in prostate cancer in a man who has undergone a vasectomy and later a vasectomy reversal. 

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer 

Even though no one can say for sure if vasectomies reduce or increase the risk of prostate cancer, there are some risk factors that show a clear link in whether a man may get prostate cancer or not including:

  • Age: Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are 50 or older. 
  • Diet: Studies have shown that men who eat too much calcium or dairy have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer. 
  • Genetics: Prostate cancer seems to run in families so someone who has a brother or father who has had prostate cancer may also be at a higher risk of getting it themselves 
  • Race: African American men are more likely to have prostate cancer compared to men of other races. 

Preventing Prostate Cancer 

Whether you have had a vasectomy or not, you want to ensure you are doing everything you can to prevent prostate cancer including:

  • Exercising often and maintaining a healthy body weight 
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol 
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of lean meat, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits
  • Get prostate screenings according to the recommendations given to you by your doctor 
  • Take prostate supplements when approved by your doctor or healthcare professional 

Final Thoughts 

Whether or not vasectomies can increase or decrease the chances of getting a prostate cancer diagnosis is unclear. However, the benefits of getting a vasectomy are usually greater than the risk of getting prostate cancer and are a good method of birth control for men who no longer want to have children. 

All surgeries, including vasectomies, should be properly discussed with your doctor. 

Links to referenced studies: