Natural Health with Megan Sheppard: Is it possible for vasectomy to lead to prostate cancer?

My husband had a vasectomy four years ago. While everything has gone well with the surgery, I have recently read about vasectomy increasing the risk for prostate cancer. His father has prostate cancer, so it is a concern for us. Is it possible for vasectomy to lead to prostate cancer?

There have been a number of studies investigating the link between vasectomy and prostate cancer over the past 25 years. At first glance, the results seem to come to conflicting conclusions. Some studies show a clear increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer after vasectomy, while others find no connection at all. About 10 years ago, US epidemiologists assembled the data from 22 different studies spanning 20 years of research and found that there was a very small increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer after having had a vasectomy. What was not apparent from the data, however, was whether this can be considered as a true causal connection or a result of detection bias. It may well be that men who have had a vasectomy are more likely to have follow-up checks regarding the health of their prostate.

One thing we know for sure is that your husband can take measures to support his prostate health, and reduce his risk of developing prostate cancer. Saw palmetto (serenoa repens), which works by triggering the relaxation of smooth muscle cells in the prostate gland, has been proven scientifically to outperform many commonly prescribed prostate drugs, so it is an important remedy for prostate health. Pumpkin seeds are another valuable dietary addition since they are high in vitamin E and zinc, both beneficial nutrients for male reproductive and urinary health.

Cooked or concentrated tomato is also considered to be a health food when it comes to prostate protection. Tomatoes, and tomato-based products (such as tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato puree), are a great source of the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. With an antioxidant value of almost three times that of vitamin E, lycopene is thought to play a significant role in protecting against many forms of cancer. Lycopene is particularly effective in preventing prostate cancer through decreasing prostate specific antigen levels. When tomatoes are cooked and concentrated, the bioavailability of lycopene increases dramatically. Broccoli contains the compounds diindolylmethane (DIM) and sulforaphane, which help to reduce tumours, improve prostate health, and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Keeping active is also important. Sitting all day at a desk job doesn’t do any of us much good, so if your husband works in a more sedentary profession then it is important that he gets at least 30 minutes of exercise in each day — even if it is just a brisk daily walk.

I have purchased some Boswellia capsules as I get headaches from time to time. There is no information on the bottle as to whether or not I can take them as needed, rather a daily dosage. I don’t want to have to take them all the time, just to relieve the headache when I feel it coming on. Have I bought the wrong product, or am I able to take these capsules only at times when I need pain relief?

This resin, also known as Indian frankincense — not to be confused with frankincense used in incense (Boswellia carterii) — is an effective anti-inflammatory used not only for the relief of headaches, but also for menstrual cramping, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and sporting injuries. The daily dosage on the bottle you have bought is likely an indication for treating chronic or ongoing conditions.

Boswellia works by opening up the blood vessels causing restriction and pain in the body, so when you feel the early twinges of pain or headache you should take 100mg (you can repeat this dose up to three times in a day). If the pain is severe, you can increase the dose to 200mg up to three times daily.


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