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Is there a link between vasectomy and the diagnosis of prostate cancer?

Is there a link between vasectomy and the diagnosis of prostate cancer?

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Does the medical community feel that there is a link between vasectomy patients and prostate cancer? We are trying to make an educated decision about sterilization.  

Answer

Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Chief of Urology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

In the past there has been opinion expressed that there is an epidemiologic link between vasectomy and the subsequent diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, my interpretation of the data and opinions expressed by many others is that this link has not been firmly established. In our practice, however, we do inform high-risk patients (patients with a first degree relative with prostate cancer and African-Americans) that there is a possibility that such a link exists. We ask individuals in those categories considering vasectomy for infertility purposes to carefully consider this before making their final decision.