Granted, there are a lot of ‘world days’ held each year that aim to raise awareness of particular issues or problems. Unlike those that just aim to boost the profile of a cause however, World Vasectomy Day on November 13 takes it one step further.
Not only are free information and education sessions on the procedure and its effectiveness offered as part of this annual event, doctors across the world also actually perform vasectomies.
Brief history and main objectives of WVD
In 2012, a media activist and a urologist got together to talk about the impact of the human population on the planet. The first World Vasectomy Day (WVD) was launched in Adelaide in 2013, making this year’s event the third to take place. At that first event, the organisers achieved their aim of getting more than 100 doctors in 25 countries to perform over 1,000 vasectomies in 24 hours. In 2014, the event really took off, with 500 doctors performing 3,000 vasectomies in 32 countries!
Citric acid is a component of ordinary lemons and limes, and may be beneficial for reducing the risk of kidney stones. It appears to do this by preventing calcium from binding to other substances that form stones, and by coating existing stones and preventing them from binding to each other and becoming larger. Citric acid may also help to break up existing stones.
Citrate – a derivative of citric acid found in some medications and supplements – may have a similar effect. However, it’s probably a lot more pleasant for most of us (and a lot cheaper) to drink some home-made lemonade than to swallow pills several times a day!
A male vasectomy is considered to be a very simple and effective form of birth control for men, with partner pregnancy rates following a successful procedure being generally less than 0.2%. This is usually a day procedure that involves severing or clamping of the vas deferens – the tubes than carry the sperm from the testicles to the penis.
A successful result means that while ejaculation of seminal fluid may still take place, it should not contain any sperm. However, other forms of birth control are recommended until all already-present sperm has been completely cleared from the vas deferens following the procedure.
A new US study done at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine has found that men who have had testicular cancer may be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.
The rate of prostate cancer in men who had previously had testicular cancer was 12.6%, compared to 2.8% for those who had not. They were also five times more likely to develop intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer than men who had not had testicular cancer.
What is testicular cancer?
Unlike cancer of the prostate, testicular cancer – or cancer of the testes – is mostly a younger man’s disease. According to the government’s Better Health Channel, testicular cancer is relatively rare, but is still the second most common cancer in men aged 18-39, with the rate of the disease having grown by 50% in the last 30 years.
Symptoms may include a lump in the testes, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, and / or a persistent ache in the affected testicle or in the lower abdomen – although it may present with no symptoms at all. Diagnosis is often done through an ultrasound and blood tests.
Testicular cancer in most cases can be successfully treated. Treatments include surgical removal of the affected testicle, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. If left untreated, testicular cancer may spread to the lymph glands and other organs – most often the lungs.
Risk factors include undescended testes in childhood, a family history of the disease, penile abnormalities, and complications from mumps.
What is the link to prostate cancer?
At this stage if there is a link between the two diseases, the reason for it is unknown. In most cases examined in the study, the men who had had both diseases contracted prostate cancer 30 years after the first diagnosis of testicular cancer – a considerable length of time, especially if a link between the two does exist.
The evidence is not yet conclusive, and it’s clear that more research needs to be carried out. While there haven’t been any recommendations for medical practitioners at this stage, the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand recommends that men who have had testicular cancer should visit their doctor to discuss having a prostate cancer test.
Reducing the risk
Whether you have had testicular cancer or not, there are some steps you can take that may help to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. These include following a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and a diet rich in plant foods, and reducing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding excess alcohol.
In any case, if you have had testicular cancer in your younger years, you should consider getting a prostate cancer screening. Your doctor or a urologist in Sydney will be able to help you with this and to provide more information on the disease.