Major study finds vasectomies safe without raising prostate cancer risk

New data from a huge systematic review and meta-analysis finds minimal evidence that vasectomies raise the risk of developing prostate cancer. 


A large analysis based on data from 53 studies conducted around the world involving more than 14 million men found no link between men who’ve had a vasectomy of increasing their risk of “high-grade” aggressive prostate cancer and only a weak association between vasectomy and any form of prostate cancer.  This information was published in the journal of JAMA Internal Medicine.

“The results from this major study prove once and for all that vasectomies are a safe, effective procedure that does not increase the chance of prostate cancer in men,” stated Dr. David Samadi.   “There was a time back in the 1980s and 1990s when a few reports had come out stating there was an association between vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer.  That only stoked fear and hesitation in men from having the procedure done believing it might raise their odds of developing prostate cancer.  Now, thanks to this study, those fears can be put to rest.”

The research was led by R. Jeffrey Karnes, MD, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which looked at three decades of epidemiologic literature providing a magnitude of robust data that supports the current guidelines or the American Urological Association.

There were a total of 53 studies that were included in this review and meta-analysis.  The studies were used to compare prostate cancer rates for men of similar ages that had either had a vasectomy or not.  The study follow-up varied from just under 2 years to more than 24 years.  The findings showed no link between vasectomy and the risk to men developing aggressive prostate cancer and only a weak association of about a 5 percent hike in relative risk between vasectomy and any form of prostate cancer.  It was noted that even that small statistic could be due to other factors besides a man having had a vasectomy. 

“What was interesting with this study was that as the methodology of the studies improved, the risk between prostate cancer and vasectomies went almost to zero,” exclaimed Dr. Samadi.  “Even then, researchers stated that any man, who had gotten a vasectomy at some point in their life, only had a 0.6 percent risk over their lifetime in the possibility of this procedure raising their risk for prostate cancer. That’s an incredibly miniscule number and men should not be concerned of any link between having a vasectomy and raising their risk of prostate cancer.” 

Dr. Samadi went on to say, “Vasectomies are cheaper, faster, and safer than female sterilization also known as tubal ligation.  Yet, only 9% of men in the U.S. get them while 27% of women get tubal ligations.  As long as men are adequately counseled about having a vasectomy and their risk of prostate cancer, it should not prevent any physician from offering a vasectomy to couples looking for an option of a long-term birth control method.” 

Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact world renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist Dr. David Samadi at 212-365-50000 for a free phone consultation.  To learn more about prostate cancer, visit