More sex, less cancer. Fact or fiction?

There is some debate about the health benefits of sex Download the avi file. Could a lowered risk of cancer be one of them?

A healthy sex life boasts some impressive benefits. Of course it makes you feel great, but sex can do a lot more: it boosts your immune system, reduces depression, helps you to sleep better and even provides pain relief. Here’s another one to add to that list: it could lower your risk of prostate cancer.

The science behind sex and your prostate

In the past, experts argued that regular sex increased your chances for STDs which could increase your risk for cancer. Others suggested that men with a higher sex drive, have more male hormones which may increase prostate cancer risk. But the numbers show quite the opposite: If you ejaculate around 21 times a month, rather than 2 to 7 times, your risk of prostate cancer drops between 20 to 30 percent!

Now, you may be thinking: “Scientists would’ve had to rely on men self-reporting their sexual activity. And, if the typical stories at the bar are anything to go by, how reliable can that be?” Well, for one, the studies weren’t conducted at the local pub. And, several large-scale studies in different groups of men all pointed to similar results. So the evidence is pretty convincing.

How does it work?

The jury is still out on why sexual activity decreases your cancer risk. One theory is that ejaculation “cleans out” the prostate, making it a less welcoming home for cancer-causing agents or other nasties that could cause inflammation.

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Even if you have a fantastic love-life, though, it doesn’t completely nullify your risk: you still need to go for your regular screening.

Prostate cancer screening guidelines

It’s really not as bad as the movies make it out to be! Screening will help you detect problems early on, which means better treatment options and chance of recovery.

Here are CANSA’s screening guidelines:

  • If you have more than one first degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65, you are at high risk. Go for a PSA blood test annually from age 40.
  • If you have a first degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before 65, you are at risk. Go for a PSA blood test annually from age 45.
  • All other men need a PSA at least once every 2 years, from age 50.

If you have any more questions about prostate cancer, make sure to check the following links: