How good is your relationship with your son or sons?


And in today’s exciting news comes something that it is too late for most prostate cancer patients to do anything about personally (and which they can complain about if they did and they still got prostate cancer … although we’re not sure to whom)!

According to  a newly published study by Rider et al. in European Urology (see also this commentary in Renal & Urology News):

In a large prospective study with long-term follow-up, men who reported more frequent ejaculation in adulthood had a lower risk of total incidence of prostate cancer.

Luckily for the women (or other partners) involved, this “large prospective study” was not a randomized, double-blind clinical trial! Rather, these data come from a prospective cohort study of participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, utilizing self-reported data on average frequencies of ejaculation each month.

For many years there has been limited evidence suggesting that frequency of male ejaculation might be related to risk for prostate cancer, and that the higher the frequency of ejaculation the lower one’s risk. By using the data from the 31,925 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and following these patients from 1992 to 2010, the research team was able to compile (among many other things) data on the frequency of ejaculation of the participants at three time-points: (a) in the year before distribution of the questionnaire; (b) from age 20 to 29 years; and (c) from age 40 to 49 years.

Here are the core results reported by Rider and her colleagues:

  • The study data set comprised 480,831 person-years.
  • 3,839/31,925 men (12.3 percent) were diagnosed with prostate cancer over the 18 years of the study.
  • Ejaculation frequency at age 40 to 49 years was positively associated with age-standardized body mass index (BMI), physical activity, divorce, history of sexually transmitted infections, and consumption of total calories and alcohol.
  • PSA test utilization by 2008, number of PSA tests, and frequency of prostate biopsy were similar across frequency categories.
  • Based on multivariable analyses, the hazard ratio (HR) for prostate cancer incidence among men reporting ≥ 21 ejaculations per months compared to 4 to 7 ejaculations per month was
    • 0.81 for frequency at age 20 to 29 years (p < 0.0001 for trend) — i.e., a 19 percent reduction in risk for diagnosis
    • 0.78 for frequency at age 40 to 49 years (p  < 0.0001 for trend) — i.e., a 22 percent reduction in risk for diagnosis
  • These associations were
    • Driven by low-risk forms of prostate cancer
    • Similar when restricted to a PSA-screened cohort
    • Unlikely to be explained by competing causes of death

Rider et al. conclude that their findings:

provide additional evidence of a beneficial role of more frequent ejaculation throughout adult life in the etiology of [prostate cancer], particularly for low-risk disease.

Of course this study doesn’t prove that frequent ejaculation will prevent prostate cancer. But it does seem to lower risk to some extent. For prostate cancer patients (and their own spouses or partners) with sons between 20 and 49 years of age, you now have data that would allow you to advise your son’s wives or other sexual partners that frequent sex is a critical to your children being able to lower their risk for prostate cancer. However, this is not a strategy we recommend if you want to maintain a generally healthy family dynamic! It’s hard to know whether you would be more likely to upset your sons or their wives/partners!

On the other hand, if you have a good relationship with your son or sons, you might like to whisper in his or their ear(s)!

For the men who had a high frequency of ejaculation during the relevant time period but still got diagnosed with prostate cancer, all complaints should please be directed to the Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, in Boston, MA! We sympathize.

 

4 Responses

  1. I’m confused about who is being compared: Men with greater than 21 ejaculations vs men with 47?

  2. My fault Ray. Sorry. There was a typo which has now been corrected.

    They were comparing man who had had > 21 ejaculations a month (high) to men who had had between 4 and 7 (low).

  3. Amused by that typo!

  4. I bet the Department of Epidemiology at Boston University can’t wait for the complaint letters to roll in!

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