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Sexual Activity Linked To Increased Prostate Cancer Risk

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Findings of a new study have found an association between sexual activity and the risk of developing prostate cancer in men.

Researchers of the study published in the International Journal of Cancer have found that the more sexual partners a man has had, the higher his risk of developing prostate cancer, the most common non-skin cancer among men in the United States.

More Sexual Partners And Early Puberty

Study researcher Visalini Nair-Shalliker, a research fellow at Cancer Council NSW, and colleagues involved 10,000 men to examine the potential risk factors for prostate cancer and found that the risk of developing the condition increases with the number of a man's sexual partners.

Men who had more than seven sexual partners in their lifetimes have twice the risk of developing prostate cancer compared with those with fewer than three sexual partners.

Researchers likewise found that men who had their first sexual contact before reaching the age of 17, those who had more than five orgasms in a month before diagnosis and those who entered puberty earlier had increased odds for the disease.

Not A Causal Link

Nair-Shalliker explained that sexual activity and metabolism were linked with the male sex hormone antigen, which is also associated with the initiation of prostate cancer.

She said that it is important to identify the factors that can increase risks for the disease so men could be advised. Men who are older than 50 years old who have risk factors are urged to speak to their doctors particularly if they also have a family history of the disease.

An earlier study suggests that men men with metastatic prostate cancer should get genetic testing since the result may also benefit their family members.

The researcher, however, said that having more sexual partners does not necessarily cause prostate cancer. The study merely found an association between the two.

"We can't make any recommendations around sexual activity because it's multi-faceted," Nair-Shalliker said. "We're not saying 'increase or decrease your sexual activity' because the evidence is still gray about that."

Body Size

Obesity or being overweight was also linked to an increased risk, albeit to a lesser extent.

"No associations were found between [prostate cancer] risk and vertex balding, erectile function, acne, circumcision, vasectomy, asthma or diabetes. These results support a role for adult body size, sexual activity and adolescent sexual development in [prostate cancer] development," the researchers wrote in their study.

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