Harvard Men's Health Watch

Cancer risk linked to vasectomy

Having a vasectomy is associated with a slightly higher chance of aggressive prostate cancer, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers reviewed health data on more than 49,000 men, covering 1986 to 2010—the longest and largest study to date of the alleged link between
vasectomy and prostate cancer.

About 25% of the men in the study had had vasectomies. Compared with men who had not had vasectomies, they were about 20% more likely to have a prostate cancer that was aggressive (more apt to spread) or lethal. The actual number of men affected, however, was small. The study identified three additional aggressive cancers per 1,000 men who'd had a vasectomy.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »