Men who have gotten vasectomies might have an increased risk of developing the most lethal form of prostate cancer, a new study shows.
Previous studies have shown links between vasectomies and prostate cancer, but many experts have found flaws in them. This new study accounts for those flaws, however, yet still found a connection between the two things.
Harvard researchers looked at information on 49,405 men between the ages of 40 and 75. Out of all the men, 12,321 of them had had vasectomies. The researchers discovered 6,023 of those men developed prostate cancer sometime between the years 1986 to 2010.
It was found that the men who had had vasectomies were more likely to develop the most lethal form of prostate cancer. The study shows that those men were a whopping 20 percent more likely to develop the lethal form. The vasectomies made no difference in less deadly forms of the cancer, however.
Although the exact reasons behind this are not yet known, it is thought that certain hormonal imbalances due to the vasectomy may be to blame. Despite the new findings, doctors are unlike to discourage vasectomies.
“If someone asked for a vasectomy, I would have to tell them that there is this new data in this regard, but it’s not enough for me to change the standard of care,” said Dr. James M. McKiernan, interim chairman of the department of urology at Columbia. “I would not say that you should avoid vasectomy.”
It should be noted that vasectomies do not make it more likely that men will develop prostate cancer. Instead, it makes it more likely that if a man was to develop the cancer, it would be the deadlier form.
The findings were published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.