Vasectomy represents an effective long term contraceptive method which is safer, quicker, and cheaper than tubal ligation, the equivalent operation in women. Despite these advantages, only 3% of the married population chooses this option. One reason for this is that starting in the late 1980s, reports began to appear in the medical and popular literature linking the procedure to an increased risk of prostate cancer, although there was no plausible medical explanation for the relationship.
A collaborative study between the Mayo Clinic and two major Canadian medical centers, published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined 49 clinical studies which included 3 million men. The investigators found a small increase in prostate cancer diagnoses among men who had had vasectomies, representing a ~0.5% increase in lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, they found no association between vasectomy and high grade prostate cancer, advanced prostate cancer, or fatal prostate cancer. The authors concluded that there was no association between vasectomy and clinically significant prostate cancer.