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Old 12-02-2004, 10:38 AM
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Prevent Prostate Cancer You Jerk... Off

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4676076/

Sexual activity does not cause prostate cancer, and men who ejaculate frequently may even be protecting themselves against the disease, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

The study, which involved more than 29,000 healthy men and covered sex of all kinds including masturbation and nocturnal emissions, confirms a smaller Australian study from last July that reached similar conclusions, the authors said.

Most of the previous research into the question was on whether sexual frequency caused prostate cancer, on the theory that increased production of the male hormone testosterone could prompt prostate cell growth, the study’s chief author, Michael Leitzmann, said in an interview.

Frequency may protect
But the new research found that “ejaculation frequency is not related to an increased risk. There is no adverse effect. And ... higher elevations of ejaculation appear to protect men from developing prostate cancer,” said Leitzmann, a physician and investigator at the National Cancer Institute.

The study suggested that frequent ejaculations may decrease the concentration of “chemical carcinogens which readily accumulate in prostatic fluid” and may reduce the development of crystalloids “which have been associated with prostate cancer in some.”

The prostate is a small gland that produces some of the fluid for semen. Prostate cancer is the second most common kind of cancer (after skin cancer) diagnosed among U.S. men, and is highly survivable if caught in time.

'Flush the ducts'
The new study, published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, was based on an ongoing survey covering a variety of health issues of thousands of men who were 40 to 75 when the study began in 1986. In 1992 they were asked to report the average number of ejaculations they had per month during ages 20 to 29, 40 to 49 and during the previous year. In later surveys they were asked to report if they had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The earlier Australian study published in July 2003 by the Cancer Council Victoria found that the more often men ejaculated between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they were to suffer from prostate cancer.

That survey, which covered 1,079 prostate cancer patients and 1,259 healthy men, found that those who had sex at least once a day in their 20s were a third less likely to develop the malady.

“The more you flush the ducts out, the less there is to hang around and damage the cells that line them,” Graham Giles, lead author of the earlier study said at the time.

Q & A Prostate cancer

• How many men die
from it?
• What causes it?
• What are the symptoms?
• Can it be prevented?
• How is it diagnosed?
• How is it treated?

An estimated 28,900 American men will die from prostate cancer in 2003. After lung cancer, it is the second most common cause of cancer mortality in U.S. men, accounting for 11 percent of cancer deaths. About 90 percent of men with prostate cancer survive at least five years after diagnosis, and two-thirds live 10 years or more. Early detection and treatment boost survival.

Prostate cancer occurs when malignant cells form and spread through the prostate gland. The malignant cells develop when changes occur in DNA, the genetic material containing the "instructions" for all types of cells. When DNA is altered, normal cells can grow abnormally and form cancer. Exactly how DNA is altered in prostate cancer remains unclear. However, a number of factors have been implicated in prostate cancer development, including advancing age, African-American race, a family history of the disease and a high-fat diet.

Most cases of early prostate cancer cause no symptoms and are identified only by routine screening tests. However, some patients may experience a slowing or weakening of the urinary stream or the need to urinate more often. Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include blood in the urine, impotence, and pain in the pelvis, spine, hips or ribs.

The uncertainty about the causes and controllable risk factors for prostate cancer complicates prevention. The best evidence available relates to dietary habits. Following a balanced diet that is low in fat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables and grain products may help reduce cancer risk.

The American Cancer Society and other groups recommend annual prostate cancer screening for all men beginning at age 50. Such screening involves a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate, as well as a digital rectal exam, in which a physician palpates the gland. Men who have an increased risk for prostate cancer (such as African-Americans and men with a family history of the disease) are advised to get tested earlier, usually at age 45. However, due to some conflicting evidence on the benefits of these tests for all men, not all doctors recommend widespread screening. If certain symptoms or the results of early detection tests have raised the possibility of prostate cancer, biopsies and possibly other tests will be performed to confirm a diagnosis.


Prostate cancer may be treated with prostatectomy (surgery to remove the prostate), radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or a combination of treatments. Depending on a man’s age and the stage of the cancer, doctors also may recommend "watchful waiting" - leaving the cancer untreated until it shows signs of becoming more aggressive or spreading. This latter approach is most commonly recommended for elderly men who have slow-growing tumors. Treatment side effects can include impotence and urinary incontinence.

Leitzmann said his new study is consistent with the Australian findings, and may even be stronger because it tracked men over time rather than asking them to recall ejaculation frequency only after they had already been diagnosed with cancer.

That kind of recall can be distorted, he said, because the cancer brings diminished sexual activity with it.

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.



... I said jerk-off
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