Men who have had a vasectomy are more likely to develop prostate cancer, and the more aggressive form that is likely to kill.

The procedure increases the overall risk by 10 per cent, and the chances of developing an advanced or lethal form is even higher – relative to the general population – at up to 20 per cent increased risk.

The greatest risk was among men who had a vasectomy at a younger age of 38 or so, say researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, who analysed the health of 49,405 men over a 24-year period. In that time, 6,023 men developed prostate cancer, and a quarter of those had had a vasectomy.

Vasectomy is one of the most popular forms of contraception in the US and the UK, with around 15 per cent of men undergoing the procedure.

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2014; doi: 10.1200/JCO 2013.54.8446