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Vasectomy may increase risk of aggressive prostate cancer
Date:7/9/2014

Boston, MA -- Vasectomy was associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer, and a stronger risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The researchers found that the association remained even among men who received regular PSA screening, suggesting the increased risk of lethal cancer cannot be explained by diagnostic bias. It is the largest and most comprehensive study to date to look at the link between vasectomy and prostate cancer.

The study appears online July 7, 2014 in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"This study follows our initial publication on vasectomy and prostate cancer in 1993, with 19 additional years of follow-up and tenfold greater number of cases. The results support the hypothesis that vasectomy is associated with an increased risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer," said co-author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH.

Vasectomy is a common form of contraception in the U.S., with about 15% of men having the procedure. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, so identifying risk factors for lethal prostate cancer is important for public health.

The researchers analyzed data from 49,405 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, who were followed for up to 24 years from 1986 to 2010. During that time, 6,023 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed, including 811 lethal cases. One in four of the men in this study reported having a vasectomy.

The results showed a 10% increased risk of prostate cancer overall in men who had a vasectomy. Vasectomy was not significantly associated with risk of low-grade cancer. However, vasectomy was associated with a stronger risk of advanced and lethal prostate cancer, with an increased risk of 20% and 19% respectively. Among men who received regular PSA screening, the relative increase in risk of lethal prostate can
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8413
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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