For men concerned about prostate-cancer risk, here's some good news from researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle:
The above findings, reported in a pair of papers that will appear Friday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, stem from the largest study ever designed to look at prostate-cancer risk and vasectomy in men under age 65. The results of this $1.8 million National Cancer Institute-funded study should allay any residual misgivings about a potential link between cancer risk and vasectomy, says lead researcher Dr. Janet Stanford, head of the Hutchinson Center's Prostate Cancer Research Program.
"We looked carefully at this large population with a high prevalence of vasectomy and didn't see an association with prostate cancer," says Stanford, a member of the Center's Public Health Sciences Division and a research professor of epidemiology at UW. "This is an important public-health question, and we believe that our results will be reassuring to physicians performing the procedure and to couples selecting vasectomy for contraception," she says. Vasectomy costs less than tubal ligation, the surgical-contraceptive counterpart for women, and is associated with fewer side effects.
While several other recent studies also have found no association between vasectomy and prostate cancer, the National Cancer Institute commissioned the Hutchinson Center study to address lingering doubt stemming from earlier studies that had suggested a link. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine and Seattle's Northwest Prostate Institute also collaborated on the study.