Common question: Does a vasectomy cause prostate cancer?

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Vasectomy Not Associated With Prostate Cancer

Urology – February 28, 2009 – Vol. 25 – No. 04

There is no association between prostate cancer and age at vasectomy or years since vasectomy.

Article Reviewed: Vasectomy and the Risk of Prostate Cancer. Holt SK, Salinas CA, Stanford JL: J Urol; 2008;180 (December): 2565-2568.

Background: The majority of the literature now has shown no association between vasectomy and prostate cancer. The effect of vasectomy on men with a family history of prostate cancer or on those who underwent a vasectomy at a young age or had an extended period of time since the procedure has been poorly studied due to small sample sizes and short study follow-up.

Objective: To assess the risk of prostate cancer in men by age and length of time to exposure from vasectomy to disease.

Design: Population-based, prostate cancer case-controlled study.

Participants: 1327 men aged 35 to 74 years residing in King County, Washington, with a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Methods: Cases of prostate cancer were identified from the SEER database for this population. Structured in-person interviews were conducted. Eligible controls were identified by random digit telephone dialing. Analysis based on prostate cancer Gleason score and stage was performed. Analysis was also performed based on demographics, age, prostate cancer screening history (within the last 5 years), family history of prostate cancer, and vasectomy parameters.

Results: 1327 men were eligible for study from the SEER database; 1001 completed the personal questionnaire. In total, 1340 controls were identified, of which 942 were interviewed. The control population showed that men who had undergone vasectomy were older, white, married, non-smokers with higher income and education, and had undergone PSA screening. Of men with prostate cancer and controls, 36% had undergone a vasectomy. Mean number of years since vasectomy in cases and controls was 21.1 years. No significant association was seen between prostate cancer and vasectomy status, age at vasectomy, years since vasectomy, or year of vasectomy. There was no evidence of risk estimates across vasectomy parameters. Risk did not change if men with prostate cancer within 2 years of vasectomy and controls with no PSA screening within 5 years (n=136) were excluded.

Conclusions:

No association was found between prostate cancer and vasectomy, even in men who had a vasectomy performed at a young age or had an extended period of time since vasectomy.

Reviewer’s Comments: This paper is a well-conducted, large case-control study that answers the concern about possible limitations of previous work that reported the lack of association between prostate cancer and vasectomy. This criticism often indicated inadequate follow-up since vasectomy to make this claim. In this study, average time since vasectomy in cases of prostate cancer and controls was 21 years. Multiple variables were looked at including vasectomy in the face of prostate cancer family history and screening. This large study should end the criticism on previous work that did not answer the question of prostate cancer and time from vasectomy. (Reviewer–Ajay K. Nangia, MBBS).

 

Questions about a Vasectomy? Here’s a resource.

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Dr. McHugh answers vasectomy questions from patients all over the USA on vasectomy.com. If you click on the link below and then click on Q and A you’ll be directed to all of the questions he’s answered over the years. The site breaks down the categories to help navigate to a particular area of concern. If you have a vasectomy question you can post it on vasectomy.com under “Ask the Doctor” and the likelihood is that Dr. McHugh will be asked to answer it. Give it a whirl!

 Vasectomy.com 

Remember to then click on Q and A to get the archives of Dr. McHugh’s answers.

How common is it for the male to want to reverse a vasectomy?

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Predictive factors for vasectomy include income, number of biologic children, access to care, education level, religion, and race.

Article Reviewed: Vasectomy Demographics and Postvasectomy Desire for Future Children: Results From a Contemporary National Survey. Sharma V, Le BV, et al: Fertil Steril; 2013;99 (June): 1880-1885.

Background: Nearly half a million men choose vasectomy each year. Having a clear understanding of which men undergo a vasectomy can help improve counseling and possibly provide guidance to increase acceptance in those not currently seeking vasectomy. Additionally, because the rate of desire for subsequent fertility is often calculated from men presenting for vasectomy reversal consultations, this may underestimate the numbers.

Objective: To determine the demographic factors of men choosing vasectomy and to define the number of men subsequently desiring fertility post-vasectomy.

Design: Analysis of National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).

Methods: The NSFG was conducted from June 2006 to June 2010 and sampled 10,403 men aged 15 to 45 years. Participants were questioned by female interviewers and compensated $40. Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention methodology, the 110 diverse sampling units were adjusted based on census data to estimate national results.

Results: 8992 men aged ≥18 years were surveyed and 368 had a vasectomy during this time frame. This corresponds to a prevalence of 6.6%, markedly lower than the tubal ligation prevalence of 16.4% in women for the same age ranges. White men were more likely to have undergone vasectomy, with a prevalence of 9.1%. Black men and Hispanics had a prevalence of 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively. Other factors increasing the prevalence of vasectomy included income, education level, access to health care, and U.S. born (compared to immigrants). In total, 84% of the men had at least 2 children and 21% of men who were adoptive fathers had a vasectomy. The overall strongest predictor was number of biologic children. Overall, 19% of men who had undergone vasectomy desired future children and this was more likely when men belonged to a religion. Only 2% of men had undergone a vasectomy reversal.

Conclusions: Predictive factors for vasectomy include number of biologic children, race, and access to care. Nearly 1 in 5 of these men desired subsequent fertility.

Reviewer’s Comments: These data match my general perception of the typical male presenting to my office for vasectomy consultation. It is interesting to see that black men and Hispanic men do not pursue vasectomy as often and this may be an area for growth if cultural concerns can be addressed. Most interesting in this manuscript is the fact that 1 in 5 men desire subsequent fertility. I am curious if some of the men described as adoptive fathers were in this group. I believe counseling on the option of vasectomy reversal or in vitro fertilization is important during the vasectomy visit so men realize there are options, but the cost of these procedures should also be discussed. It would also be interesting to see if the same demographics are seen in countries with universal health care and limited access issues.(Reviewer–Gregory Lowe, MD).

Hematoma effect after a vasectomy?

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Things like a hematoma, bruising and swelling can occur after a vasectomy, however using the No scalpel No needle procedure and instruments untoward events can be minimized. It does matter who performs your vasectomy and how it is done. J.M.

From the Q and A section on Vasectomy.com-Dr. McHugh’s answer.