No Link Found Between Vasectomy and Developing or Dying From Prostate Cancer Interview with:

Eric Jacobs, PHD | Strategic Director, Pharmacoepidemiology American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Eric Jacobs

Eric Jacobs, PHD
Strategic Director, Pharmacoepidemiology
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Vasectomy is a common, inexpensive, and very effective method of long-term birth control. However, in 2014, an analysis from a large epidemiologic cohort study, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, found that vasectomy was associated with about 10% higher overall risk of prostate cancer and about 20% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer. Together with other researchers at the American Cancer Society, I analyzed the association between vasectomy and fatal prostate cancer among more than 363,000 men in the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) cohort, age 40 and older, who were followed for up to 30 years. This is the largest prospective analysis of vasectomy and fatal prostate cancer to date. We also examined vasectomy and prostate cancer in a subset of about 66,000 CPS-II study participants who were followed for new diagnoses of prostate cancer.

We found no link between having had a vasectomy and risk of either developing or dying from prostate cancer. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Results of our study provides some reassurance that having a vasectomy is unlikely to meaningfully increase risk of developing any type of prostate cancer, including fatal prostate cancer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: I’d like to see a large study of vasectomy and prostate cancer from a place where PSA screening is rare, so that vasectomy and prostate cancer can be looked at without any potential for distortion by screening practices. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Both obesity and smoking have consistently been linked with higher risk of fatal prostate cancer. Men who want to lower their risk of fatal prostate cancer, as well as improve their general health, should focus on maintaining a healthy weight and, if they smoke, quitting smoking. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer Incidence and Mortality in a Large US Cohort
Eric J. Jacobs, Rebecca L. Anderson, Victoria L. Stevens, Christina C. Newton,Ted Gansler, and Susan M. Gapstur
JCO JCO662361; published online on September 19, 2016;

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD