Sexual activity may play a role in the development of prostate cancer, but studies are prone to bias because men with prostate cancer may not remember events accurately. So this study, reported here, set out to study any association between ejaculation frequency and risk of prostate cancer. (It would be very interesting to know how many of these men had used prostate health supplements, and what impact it had on prostate health.)
Almost 30,000 US men aged between 46 to 81 years provided history of ejaculation frequency in 1992 and later responded to follow-up questionnaires every 2 years. Men were asked to state the average number of ejaculations they had each month between 20 and 29 years, 40 and 49 years, and during the year 1991 when the study started.
During more than 220,000 man-years of follow-up, 1,449 cases of total prostate cancer, 953 prostate-confined cases, and 147 advanced cases were reported. The researchers found that ejaculation frequency was generally unrelated to risk of prostate cancer, with one notable exception: high ejaculation frequency (defined as 21 or more ejaculations per month) was significantly related to a markedly decreased chance of developing total prostate cancer. No research was conducted on the amount, number or type of prostate supplements these men had taken.
Men aged between 20 and 29 with 21+ ejaculations a month showed about 0.89 of the risk of men with 4 to 7 ejaculations per month. For men in the 40 – 49 age group, the comparative risk was 0.68. The risks showed a similar reduction in the cases of organ confined prostate cancer and total prostate cancer, but not in the case of advanced prostate cancer. The researchers concluded that greater ejaculation frequency does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, indeed, it may reduce it.
How does this happen? Sex could affect prostatic carcinogenesis in may ways. Increased sexual activity may mean a man has a higher level of androgenic activity, which has sometimes been linked to poor prostate health and cancer. Sexual activity may also present exposure to some infectious agent implicated in prostate cancer development. These results do not indicate such a possibility is likely.
But a reduced ejaculatory output seems to be a risk factor for poor prostate health and prostate cancer. Perhaps infrequent ejaculation increases the risk of cancer because of carcinogenic secretions are retained in the prostatic tissue.
A very different idea is that repression of sexuality as indicated by low ejaculation frequency is a risk factor; there have been reports of interest in more sexual intercourse than is experienced in men with cancer cases compared with control groups. There was no research conducted on the influence of any ejaculatory dysfunction such as premature ejaculation or delayed ejaculation, or retrograde ejaculation developed after prostate surgery. Aspects Of Loving investigates how to control premature ejaculation – this may be a useful resource for men who want to know more about sexual self-development.
Data such as the above, around sexual activity and prostate health, is limited and possibly suspect, since information on sexual activity is collected after the cancer has been diagnosed. Sexual function reduces after diagnosis and treatment, and men’s memories of previous levels of sexual activity could be distorted.