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Vasectomy and prostate cancer risk: a historical synopsis of undulating false causality

Authors Nutt M, Reed Z, Kohler T

Received 20 February 2016

Accepted for publication 19 April 2016

Published 18 July 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 85—93

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRU.S71325

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli


Max Nutt, Zachary Reed, Tobias S Köhler

Division of Urology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Urology, Springfield, IL, USA


Abstract: The potential influence of vasectomy being a risk factor for the development of prostate cancer is not a new concept, with more than 30 publications addressing the topic. Given the global frequency of vasectomy and the prevalence of prostate cancer, this subject justifiably deserves scrutiny. Several articles have claimed that vasectomy puts men at risk for future development of prostate cancer. We explore articles that have shown the contrary (no link), explore the studies’ strengths and weaknesses, describe possible prostate cancer pathophysiologic mechanisms, and apply Bradford Hill criteria to help discern correlation with causation. The risk and interest of association of prostate cancer with vasectomy has waxed and waned over the last three decades. Based on our review, vasectomy remains a safe form of sterilization and does not increase prostate cancer risk.

Keywords: vasectomy, prostate cancer, pathophysiology

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