Prostate Cancer Risk Lower in Men Who Ejaculate More

The protective effect is strongest for low-risk disease.
The protective effect is strongest for low-risk disease.

Men who report a higher frequency of ejaculation as adults are less likely to be subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa), a new study confirms.

“More frequent ejaculation in the absence of risky sexual behaviors could represent an important means of reducing the profound medical costs and physical and psychological side effects of unnecessary diagnosis and treatment of low-risk tumors, even though it appears to be less strongly associated with aggressive disease,” the researchers concluded in a report published online ahead of print in European Urology.

An ejaculation frequency of 21 or more times per month at age 20–29 years and 40–49 years is associated with a significant 19% and 22% decreased risk of a PCa diagnosis, respectively, compared with a frequency of 4–7 times per month in adjusted analyses, Jennifer R. Rider, MD, of the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues reported. In addition, results showed that ejaculation frequency at age 20–29 years was significantly associated with intermediate-risk PCa. Men in this age group who had 13 or more ejaculations per month experienced a significant 27% reduction in the risk of a diagnosis of intermediate-risk PCa compared with those who had 4–7 ejaculations per month. Ejaculation frequency was not significantly associated with a diagnosis of high-risk PCa or regional/distant metastases, according to the investigators.

“This large prospective study provides the strongest evidence to date of a beneficial role of ejaculation in prevention of PCa, a disease for which relatively little is understood about etiology generally and knowledge of modifiable risk factors is particularly scant.”

Dr. Rider and her colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 31,925 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). All answered questions about ejaculation frequency on a 1992 questionnaire and were followed through to 2010. During 480,831 person-years of follow-up, 3,839 men were diagnosed with PCa: 1,585 with localized low-risk disease, 1,493 with localized intermediate-risk disease, 604 with localized high-risk PCa, and 157 with evidence of regional or distant metastases at diagnosis.

The new findings build on an initial study of the HPFS cohort published in 2004 in which researchers found a statistically significant inverse relationship between monthly ejaculation frequency and PCa risk based on 8 years of follow-up. That study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004;291:1578-1586), found that men reporting 21 or more ejaculations per month in middle age had a 50% lower risk of PCa than those reporting 4–7 ejaculations per month.

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