Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer with Regular Ejaculation

Men Who Ejaculate More Have Lower Prostate Cancer Risks

Doctor discussing medical results with patient
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An epidemiological study of 30,000 American men by Michael Leitzman, a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, has found that men who enjoy an active sex life do not risk prostate cancer in later life.

There has been a suggested link with greater sexual activity and increased incidents of prostate cancer in previous scientific data because of the link with the male hormone testosterone and its effect on promoting cancer cell growth.

Leitzmann's findings were that men who ejaculate between 13 and 20 times a month had a 14% lower risk of prostate cancer that men who ejaculated on average, between 4 and 7 times a month for most of their adult life. Men who ejaculated upwards of 21 times a month had a 33% lower lifetime risk of prostate cancer than the baseline group.

The study of predominantly white professional males would seem to suggest, as Mr. Leitzmann himself says, ‘the finding warrant further investigation’.

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, right behind skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also the second most deadly cancer in American men. Prostate cancer is more frequent among African American men than it is among white men. Furthermore, African American men are more likely to die of prostate cancer than are white men.

The vast majority of prostate cancers are a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma.

Adenocarcinomas arise from cells that produce fluids like mucus.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Many people who are otherwise healthy and have prostate cancer exhibit no symptoms. Eventually, when the cancer grows large enough or spreads, prostate cancer can cause a variety of symptoms including the following:

  • problems urinating due to obstruction (slow or weak stream);
  • frequent nighttime urination (nocturia);
  • blood in the urine;
  • erectile dysfunction (trouble getting an erection);
  • pain in the hips, back and other bones (once the cancer has spread or metastasized);
  • weakness in the legs and feet (due to metastatic tumors pressing on the spinal cord) .

Please note that if you have a weakened urinary stream or you're peeing a lot at night (nocturia), this doesn't automatically mean that you have prostate cancer. In fact, a much more common cause of weak urine stream is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a condition which isn't cancerous. Nevertheless, if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, you must see your physician as soon as possible.

How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Here's the thing about prostate cancer: Not everybody who has it goes on to die of the cancer. Many older men die of other causes before the cancer becomes severe. Although it's imperative that anybody who is suspected of having prostate cancer be screened and, if needed, staged for the disease, a physician may decide to forego treatment in lieu of "watchful waiting."

However, certain people--like those with advanced disease that has spread or metastasized--require treatment.

Here are some treatments for prostate cancer:

  • watchful waiting
  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • hormone therapy
  • vaccine therapy (there exists a prostate cancer vaccine called Provenge that induces the body to attack prostate cancer cells)
  • cryotherapy (cryosurgery)
  • bone-directed therapy

Sources

Ejaculation Frequency and Subsequent Risk of ​Prostate Cancer. Michael F. Leitzmann, MD; Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD; Meir J. Stampfer, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD; Edward Giovannucci, MD JAMA. 2004;291:1578-1586

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