A new study suggests that men who ejaculate often may have a lower risk of prostate cancer than their peers who do not ejaculate as frequently.
Prostate cancer accounts for 15% of all new cancer diagnosis worldwide. The current risk factors are age, race, and family history. These risk factors are no modifiable and there are few lifestyle changes that can be recommended to men in order to lower risk.
Researchers observed about 32,000 men beginning in 1992 when they were in their 20s and continued observing them through 2010. During this period, almost 4,000 of the participants were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Men who ejaculated at least 21 times a month were found to be 19% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their 20s than men who ejaculated less than seven times a month. By their 40s, men who ejaculated more often were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
According to the study’s author, ejaculation frequency is a measure of overall health status in that men at the very low end of ejaculation were more likely to have other medical problems and succumb prematurely to diseases other than prostate cancer.
Although more research is necessary in order to evaluate the potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed associations, these findings suggest the ejaculation and safe sexual activity throughout adulthood could be a beneficial strategy for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
One limitation of this study is that it relied on men to accurately recall and report how often they ejaculated. The study also included mostly white men. It is possible that the results may vary in a more diverse population.
The association between ejaculation frequency and cancer is also stronger for men without symptoms of prostate tumors such as pain or urinary difficulties that are already at low-risk for these malignancies.
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