Going Against The Past
Vasectomies are a long-term approach to birth control. The procedure involves cutting, sealing or blocking the tubes that sperm move along when leaving the testicles, so sperm cannot be released during sex. The prostate gland is in close proximity to these tubes, located behind them and involved in adding fluids to semen when needed.
A major study conducted on health professionals in 2014 was the first large-scale study to find an association between having a vasectomy and developing prostate cancer. The underlying biology is unknown, but the study showed a 10% increase in the risk of developing this form of cancer, as well as a 20% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, among men who had a vasectomy compared with those who did not.
But experts agreed that the overall risk found was low and that with the addition of this new study, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, concerns around the link can be lowered.
The current and previous studies were similar in size in terms of the number of participants with any form of prostate cancer, Jacobs said, but his new research had greater insight into the likelihood of developing fatal forms of the cancer. It included more than 7,000 people who died of prostate cancer, compared with 800 in the 2014 study.
Does Prostate Cancer Run In Families
Scientists arent certain what, exactly, causes the disease
Prostate cancer can run in families. If a man has a first-degree relative with prostate cancer, his risk for developing prostate cancer is about 2 to 3 times higher than average. His chances of having prostate cancer go up even higher if he has more than one first-degree relative with prostate cancer and if these relatives were diagnosed at a younger age.
Still, most cases of prostate cancer are not family-related. Scientists arent certain what, exactly, causes the disease.
Does Prostate Cancer Always Have Symptoms
Actually, prostate cancer often has no symptoms, especially in its early stages. Thats why its so important to be screened, especially for men with risk factors.
Prostate cancer often has no symptoms
Common symptoms include urination difficulties, painful ejaculation, and blood in the urine or semen. Other urologic conditions, such as prostatitis , can have these symptoms, too. Thats why doctors do a complete checkup if men have these symptoms.
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Can Lack Of Sex Cause Prostate Cancer
Lack of sex is not known to cause prostate cancer. But, as noted, there is some evidence that frequent ejaculation, whether through masturbation or sex, may confer some protection against this cancer. Researchers are still trying to understand the exact biologic mechanisms that give rise to prostate cancer.
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What The New Research Means
Both of the new studies found that men who have had a vasectomy are at no higher risk for prostate cancer.
One of the studies, conducted by the American Cancer Society and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, followed almost 364,000 men over age 40 for 30 years.
The study, the longest one conducted on the topic, found no increase in early stage prostate cancer in the approximately 42,000 men in the study who’d had a vasectomy.
It also found no heightened risk of aggressive prostate cancer or of dying from prostate cancera concern raised by some earlier research from the Harvard School of Public Health.
While no single study is definitive, our research does provide some reassurance that a vasectomy is unlikely to meaningfully raise risk of developing or dying from prostate cancer, says Eric Jacobs, Ph.D., strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology for the American Cancer Society, and lead author of the study.
A second study, which was published in BMJ, looked at health data on more than 326,000 Canadian men who had undergone a vasectomy, and the same number of men who hadn’t had the surgery.
This study also found no association between having a vasectomy and developing or dying from prostate cancer.
“It’s a positive message and we should tell patients that this is not something that they should worry about.”
What Does This Mean
What studies have observed is that the group of men that had a vasectomy had a slightly higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. However, since then there have a lot of questions by experts*:
*comments taken from experts in a variety of publications
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Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk
There are of course many things you can do to reduce your cancer risks. And that is around not smoking which reduces all cancer risks. Physical activity also reduces all risks of cancer. Also diet there are small studies that give evidence that diets that are lower in red meats and higher in plant sources of nutrition have lower prostate cancer risks. Lastly weight if you are carrying more weight than ideal then loss of weight can reduce your risk.
To finish on a fun note this was another study, following doctors, 31000 of them in Europe and they found that men who had more frequent ejaculation had much reduced prostate cancer risks. They followed these men for 18years and men with with more ejaculation had less risk. So something to discuss with your partner they dont actually separate whether this is from sex or masturbation but any source of ejaculation reduces the amount of prostate cancer risk.
What Causes Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer forms when the DNA in prostate cells develops mutations that may disable their ability to control cell growth and division. In many cases, these mutated cells die or are attacked by the immune system. However, some mutated cells may escape the immune system and grow out of control, forming a prostate tumor.
The exact causes of prostate cancer in an individual patient may not be clear. Understanding the risk factors may help men take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
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Heres How The Analysis Worked
For this new effort, researchers with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota looked through 53 studies with a combined 15 million men who had a vasectomy and were then followed for up to 24 years. The Mayo researchers also controlled for a potential bias that made some of the earlier studies hard to interpret: specifically, that men who get a vasectomy are more likely to pay attention to their health, including prostate cancer screening with a PSA test. Scientists had speculated that reported links between vasectomy and prostate cancer could have more to with screening results and early detection than with vasectomy itself.
To control for that possibility, the Mayo team stratified all 53 studies by whether their risk of bias was high, medium, or low.
Can An Enlarged Prostate Lead To Prostate Cancer
It is possible for a man to have an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer, even at the same time. But theres nothing about an enlarged prostate that makes a man more likely to get prostate cancer.
The medical term for an enlarged prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia . The word benign is an important one here, as it means there is no cancer present. As a man gets older, his prostate gland usually becomes larger. For some men, this isnt a problem. But for others, the prostate growth squeezes the urethra and makes urination difficult.
Enlarged prostate and prostate cancer do have similar symptoms, including trouble passing urine. Men who experience these symptoms should see their doctor for a checkup.
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Concerns More Than 2 Million Men
The study is a register-based study of Danish men born from 1937 and onwards, and followed from the age of 18.
In total, the study covers 2,150,162 Danish men of whom 139,550 were vasectomised. The men were followed for more than 53.4 million years, and of the complete group, 26,238 men developed prostate cancer.
The tendency was clear. A vasectomised man had a 15% higher long-term risk of developing prostate cancer compared with a non-vasectomised man. This association persisted even when we took into account socioeconomic differences and number of doctor visits, says Anders Husby.
Do Vasectomies Raise A Mans Risk For Prostate Cancer
When considering their birth control options, many men choose vasectomy. This surgical procedure is simple, safe, and effective, with an estimated success rate of 99.95%.
For many years, scientists have investigated whether a vasectomy can raise the risk of prostate cancer.
Over the last few years, it has been reported that vasectomies do not cause prostate cancer. The Mayo Clinic reports that lthough there have been some concerns about a possible link between vasectomy and testicular or prostate cancer in the past, there’s no proven link.
Its possible that vasectomy itself might not increase risk, but more prostate cancer cases might be discovered during pre-vasectomy medical exams.
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Inflammation Of The Prostate
Some studies have suggested that prostatitis may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but other studies have not found such a link. Inflammation is often seen in samples of prostate tissue that also contain cancer. The link between the two is not yet clear, and this is an active area of research.
Vasectomy And Risk Of Prostate Cancer
Vasectomy is a surgical contraception procedure in men. While the process is minor, it is associated with some short-term complications. However, recent studies have suggested that vasectomy could increase the risk of prostate cancer. This study aims to investigate the risk of prostate cancer associated with vasectomy.
This population-based matched cohort study included a total of 326,607 men aged 20-65 years who had undergone a vasectomy. The year of cohort entry, geographical region, and comorbidity score of men who underwent a vasectomy and those who did not were considered. The primary outcome of the study was incident prostate cancer, along with prostate cancer grade, stage, and mortality.
After a median follow-up of 10.9 years, a total of 3,462 prostate cancer cases were identified, 1,843 in the vasectomy group and 1,619 in the non-vasectomy group. An unadjusted analysis showed that vasectomy was associated with a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer . But after the adjustment of health-seeking behavior, no significant association was found. Besides, no relationship was found between vasectomy and high-grade/advanced-stage prostate cancer or mortality.
The research concluded that vasectomy surgery was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer or mortality.
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Can Prostate Cancer Negatively Affect A Mans Sex Life Do Men Still Enjoy Sex After Prostate Cancer Treatment
Sexuality is a big concern for men with prostate cancer, and rightly so. Certain treatments, such as surgery to remove the prostate gland , can damage the nerves responsible for erections. This can lead to erectile dysfunction . Treatments might also change the way that ejaculation and orgasms feel.
Fortunately, there are treatments available for ED and other sexual issues. It may take some time and adjustments, but men can still enjoy sex after prostate cancer.
The Importance Of Early Detection
Now that you have a better understanding of the common risk factors, its important to use that knowledge to make well-informed decisions regarding prostate cancer. General guidelines recommend men begin routine prostate cancer screening at the age of 55. However, if you fall into any of these higher-risk groups, consult your physician and ask whether you should start earlier.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, its also important to understand all your treatment options. Common prostate cancer treatments include proton therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, brachytherapy , and traditional x-ray radiation. Provision CARES Proton Therapy offers a non-invasive, non-surgical prostate cancer treatment option that has been shown to lower your risk of side effects during and after treatment. We have prostate cancer experts on staff who will be happy to provide more information. Simply call 1-833-6-PROTON to learn more.
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Conflicting Research Over The Years
There have been more than 30 studies on vasectomy and prostate cancer conducted in the past 28 years, of differing sizes and quality.
In 2012, after reviewing the research, the American Urological Association, or AUA, concluded that vasectomy likely didnt increase prostate cancer riskand that doctors didn’t need to bring the issue up when discussing vasectomies with their patients.
But in 2014, a 24-year follow-up on 49,405 men from a Harvard School of Public Health study suggested otherwise.
Its findings grabbed headlines because at the time, the study was the largest and longest of its kind.
The Harvard research found that men who’d undergone a vasectomy had a 22 percent higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer and a 19 percent higher risk for fatal prostate cancer.
The study did not, however, find a link between vasectomy and a higher risk of slow-growing prostate cancers or those that hadn’t spread beyond the prostate.
Why some prior studies suggested an association between vasectomy and prostate cancer isn’t clear.
But as Loeb points out, an association between two factors doesn’t mean that one is the cause of the other.
Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer. However, research shows that some factors may increase your risk, though scientists are still working to establish why there is a link between these factors and prostate cancer risk.
Age is the most significant risk factor for prostate cancer. Your risk increases as you get older. Only 1 out of every 100 of cases diagnosed in Ireland are diagnosed in men under 50. In old age, up to 8 out of 10 men have prostate cancer cells in the prostate but in some men they dont cause any problems.
In Ireland, about 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. However, it is important to note that this is a lifetime risk and involves men who get prostate cancer at any age, up to 85 or older. Your risk when you are younger is much lower than 1 in 6.
- A family history of cancer
Prostate cancer seems to run in some families. Generally speaking, if you have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer you are 2.5 times more likely to get prostate cancer yourself, compared to the average man.
The age that your relative is diagnosed with prostate cancer may also be a factor. If they were diagnosed before the age of 60, this increases your risk by slightly more than if they were diagnosed after the age of 60. If you have more than one first degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer your risk is about 4 times that of the general population.
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Associationbetween Vasectomy And Prostatecancer
- The study team obtained data from Danish national health registers that included a population of 2,150,162 Danish men between January 1937 and December 1996
- The average duration of follow-up was 24.8 years per person
- Overall, 26,238 cases of prostate cancer were reported in the study population during the study period
- On the whole, vasectomized men showed a 15% higher relative risk of prostate cancer compared to men who had not undergone vasectomy
- According to the study team, even after limiting the analysis to occurrence of metastatic prostate cancer and cancer that spread beyond the covering capsule of the prostate, vasectomized men showed a higher risk of prostate cancer
- The increased risk of prostate cancer after vasectomy started 10 years after the procedure remained for at least 30 years after the procedure regardless of the age at vasectomy and stage of prostate cancer at diagnosis
- Men who had undergone vasectomy were found to have a lower risk of other cancers compared with men who had not, suggesting that vasectomized men are healthier compared to the general population
vasectomy may be associated with a smallbut significant increase in risk of prostate cancer vasectomy removesthe potential protective effect of increased sperms in the semen as well ashaving more offspring
Does Prostate Cancer Always Require Surgery
Radical prostatectomy the surgical removal of the prostate gland is a common prostate cancer treatment.
But not all men with prostate cancer have surgery. For example, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy are other treatment options.
In some cases, the cancer doesnt need to be treated right away.As mentioned above, some men may choose active surveillance. If their cancer doesnt appear to be aggressive, they may hold off on any treatment. At that point, a healthcare professional regularly monitors their cancers progress, and treatment begins only when necessary.
When recommending prostate cancer treatment, specialists consider many factors, including the stage and risk level of the cancer and the patients age, overall health, and treatment preferences.
Note: Another surgical option is orchiectomy removal of the testicles. These organs produce testosterone, a hormone that helps prostate cancer cells grow. Removing the testicles greatly reduces the amount of testosterone available to cancer cells.
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