Can a Vasectomy Increase a Man’s Risk of Prostate or Testicular Cancer?

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By Mark Pomerantz, MD

There has been some uncertainty surrounding this question, but recent studies have demonstrated that having a vasectomy has no effect on the risk of prostate or testicular cancer.

Older data – from studies tracking disease rates across broad population groups – suggested a modest connection, while other studies found no such link.

Mark Pomerantz, MD, is a medical oncologist in Dana-Farber’s Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology.

These reports were prompted by concerns that vasectomy, which involves surgery to cut the tubes that carry sperm, could lead to inflammation in the pelvic region. Prolonged inflammation in certain circumstances can increase cancer risk.

More recent studies from researchers at institutions such as Boston University and the University of Washington showed no convincing association between vasectomy and prostate cancer. The Boston University group and researchers in Denmark found no link between vasectomy and testicular cancer.

Today, we can say with confidence that vasectomy does not increase or decrease the likelihood of developing prostate or testicular cancer.

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