According to Mayo Clinic researchers in a study published in July of 2017, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, there is no association between vasectomy and any form of prostate cancer. The researchers who published the story were from the main Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.
In the past, studies about the association between vasectomy and prostate cancer have shown conflicting results.
A number of studies in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s suggested an association between vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer. In recent years, some studies have reported an association and some have not; all this discrepancy has contributed to the debate over whether there is indeed a link.
The Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a comprehensive review of previous studies and did a meta-analysis to determine if a vasectomy is associated with any form of prostate cancer, including high-risk prostate cancer, advanced prostate cancer, and lethal prostate cancer. A meta-analysis covers the combined findings of multiple studies.
Several types of research, including cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies were covered by the study.
The definition of a cohort study is one that covers people who share a common characteristic or experience in a particular period. A case-control study compares two groups whose disease outcomes are different to try to find a reason for the difference. A cross-sectional study looks at information about a population at a point in time.
The Mayo Clinic analysis included 16 cohort, 33 case-control, and four cross-sectional studies. Together, the 53 studies covered almost 14.7 million patients.
The researchers wrote: “Of these, seven cohort studies (44%), 26 case-control studies (79%), and all four cross-sectional studies were deemed to have a moderate to high risk” of biased findings.
When the team focused on studies they considered to have a low risk of bias, they found a week association between vasectomy and prostate cancer in seven cohort studies. They also found an insignificant association between the two elements in six case-control studies.
“The association between vasectomy and prostate cancer was stronger when studies with moderate to high risk of bias were included,” the team wrote.
Overall, the findings supported the notion that there is no association between vasectomy and high-grade, advanced-stage, or fatal prostate cancer.
The study concluded: “Although patients should be appropriately counseled, concerns about the risk of prostate cancer should not preclude clinicians from offering vasectomy to couples seeking long-term contraception.”