The Effect of Vasectomy Reversal on Prostate Cancer Risk
If you’re considering any kind of surgery, you should always ask your doctor about the potential risks. This rule of thumb includes men who are considering vasectomy reversal. That’s the surgical procedure that some men consider when they’ve had a vasectomy in the past but their situation has changed and they now want to have children.
One question some men ask is whether there’s a connection between vasectomies, vasectomy reversals, and prostate cancer — the cancer that affects the small gland that’s located between the bladder and the penis.
You might be wondering because you’ve heard something about this already: Back in the early 1990s, a few studies showed a higher risk of prostate cancer among men who’d undergone vasectomies. Since then, some doctors have questioned whether these results were accurate, given that men who get a vasectomy might also be more likely to be screened for prostate cancer, which often grows so slowly that it’s not a serious health risk.
… But let’s ignore that for a minute and just focus on the following hypothetical question: If a vasectomy might raise your chances of getting prostate cancer, could a vasectomy reversal lower your chances of getting prostate cancer?
That’s what some researchers recently checked, and here’s what they found:
Just last year, the Journal of Urology published the results of a study that was based on men in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The study checked records for almost 10,000 men who’d had a vasectomy reversal and compared those records against records for almost 700,000 men who’d had a vasectomy but not a reversal.
The results? There was no higher incidence of prostate cancer in the vasectomy reversal group.
Now, before you stop reading, I should make a few comments about prostate cancer and prostate health in general.
Although many men live to be a ripe old age while cancer slowly grows in their prostate, there’s a less-common form of prostate cancer that grows and spreads relatively quickly. That means it’s much more dangerous. And even slow-growing prostate cancer can cause urinary or erectile problems. It’s not something that you should ignore.
The bottom line is that all men, and especially those over 40, should discuss prostate health with a urologist. Here’s why: Noncancerous prostate enlargement affects nearly all men as they get older, and the symptoms for prostate cancer are similar. So the next time you see your doctor for a checkup, discuss your prostate. And if you’re over 40 and you haven’t seen a urologist to check your prostate health lately, get yourself an appointment.