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17 July 2003
Sex And Masturbation Cut Prostate Cancer
by George Atkinson

The Cancer Council Victoria in Australia has just announced the results of a study into the relationship between prostate cancer and ejaculation in men. Published in the British Journal of Urology International, the results of the study show there is evidence that the more frequently men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer.

The research suggests that the protective effect of ejaculation is greatest when men in their twenties ejaculated on average seven or more times a week. This group were one-third less likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer when compared with men who ejaculated less than three times a week at this age.

The research was led by Professor Graham Giles, Director of the Cancer Council's Cancer Epidemiology Centre and involved researchers from The Cancer Council Victoria, The University of Western Australia, The European Institute of Oncology and the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Professor Giles speculated that the protective effects of ejaculation may be that frequent ejaculation prevents carcinogens building up in the prostatic ducts. "While it is generally accepted that prostate cancer is a hormone dependent cancer, apart from age and family history, its causes are poorly understood," he said. "If the ducts are flushed out, there may be less build up and damage to the cells that line them."

The research was conducted with men who were under the age of 70 when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and with a group of similarly aged healthy men. There were 1079 men with prostate cancer and 1259 healthy men in the study. The men, from around Australia, filled in a confidential questionnaire which sought details of their sexual activity at various times in their life.

Professor Giles said that his team examined many aspects of sexual activity. "We looked at a number of different aspects of sexual activity including the number of sexual partners, the frequency of ejaculation, as well as the number of times men ejaculated at different ages, from their twenties through to their fifties. The study looked at ejaculation in the context of intercourse with another person, masturbation and nocturnal emissions. This is a different approach from previous studies which have mostly looked at links between sexual intercourse and prostate cancer. Our research indicates that there is no association between prostate cancer and the number of sexual partners, which argues against infection as a cause of prostate cancer in the Australian population. We also found no association between maximum number of ejaculations in a 24 hour period and prostate cancer. Therefore, it is not men's ability to ejaculate that seems to be important. If the ducts are flushed out, there may be less build up and damage to the cells that line them."

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