About 1 in 8 men receives a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. Prostate cancer is common — and it can be life-threatening. The good news is that you can do a lot to protect your reproductive health.
And since September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking this opportunity to answer a question many of our patients are asking: Does getting a vasectomy increase my risk of prostate cancer?
Our team at Advanced Urology provides both prostate care and vasectomy procedures. We help you make the best decisions for your health, and here’s what you need to know.
The links between vasectomy and prostate cancer
Vasectomy is the only permanent method of male birth control. It’s a simple procedure that involves cutting your vas deferens to prevent sperm from mixing with semen.
It’s a popular option for men who don’t want to have children in the future, and about 500,000 men in the United States get vasectomies each year. There’s a low risk of side effects, and we perform no-scalpel vasectomies at our offices in Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Culver City, and San Pedro, California, to minimize recovery time.
Most of the time, men recover from vasectomy within a few weeks and don’t experience complications. However, research indicates that getting a vasectomy may increase your odds of getting prostate cancer later in life.
According to one study, men who have vasectomies are 15% more likely to get prostate cancer than those who don’t. The reasons why aren’t well understood, but experts know that vasectomy isn’t the only factor that determines your odds of prostate cancer.
Evaluating your risk of prostate cancer
Vasectomy can make prostate cancer more likely, but many other factors also influence your risk. For many men, the potentially increased risk doesn’t overrule the benefits of vasectomy. Determining your risk of prostate cancer requires taking a holistic look at your health, and our team can help.
The biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. Any man can get prostate cancer, but about 60% of cases occur in men over age 65.
Other risk factors you can’t control are your family history and your race. Men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer are more likely to be diagnosed themselves. Black men and those of African descent are also at greater risk of prostate cancer.
While the above factors play the biggest role, there are some risk factors you can change. To lower your risk of prostate cancer, you can maintain a healthy weight and eat a low-fat, low-dairy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
At Advanced Urology, we work with you to evaluate your prostate cancer risk. Getting regular prostate exams as you get older is the best way to prevent prostate cancer and related complications.
If you’ve had a vasectomy or you’re considering one, we review your medical history and your risk factors to help you make the best health choices for your situation.
Do you want to learn more about vasectomy and its effects on prostate cancer risk? We’re always available. Call 310-670-9119 to schedule an appointment at one of our urology clinics in Culver City, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, and San Pedro, California, or send us a message online.