Hmmm…why wasn’t this study done 70 years ago when I was young with an abundance of testosterone?
This was my first reaction to a report in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology. But for the Don Juans of this world, this news is better late than never. I’m sure they will be ecstatic to learn that frequent sex can decrease the risk of prostate cancer. But what will their bride-to-be say?
Marie-Elise Parent is associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Montreal. I have not met her, but she’s been affectionately called, for appropriate reasons, ‘Madame Prostate’. She also has my congratulations for her unique research.
So what’s the good news for Romeos? The Montreal study questioned 3,208 men between 2005 and 2009 about lifestyle factors, particularly their frequency of sex. Of this group 1,590 had been diagnosed with prostate malignancy. There were 1,618 males in the control group.
The study revealed that men who had sex with more than 20 women had 28% less risk of developing prostate cancer. And there was more good news. They were also less likely to have the rapid growing form of this disease.
Parent, however, cautioned that this research did not mean men should try to beat the four minute mile while getting to the bedroom. Or, that it favoured a weekend of unparalleled sex with 20 women. Rather, the lovemaking should be with 20 or more women spaced over a lifetime.
This clarification must have some down-to-earth side-effects, and I wonder if Madame Prostate has considered them? For instance, I can imagine the reaction if you said to your bride-to-be, ‘Darling, this ring means ‘till death do us part’. But recent research shows that I’m more likely to die of prostate cancer if I don’t have sexual relations with 20 or more women. I hope you understand that I still love you and it’s not something I want to do. But I’m sure you will agree this condition is in the interest of my health and life.”
Maybe readers could pass along to me what the blushing bride-to-be would say!
But the study wasn’t all good news. For instance, men who slept with men and who had 20 male partners, had twice the risk of developing prostate cancer than men who never slept with a man. Even worse, their risk of a quickly growing prostate malignancy was five times greater.
What about male virgins who never had sex? Results showed they were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer.
The question, apart from the marital disruption this affair would cause, is why romping with 20 or more women would decrease the risk of this often fatal malignancy.
Marie-Elise Parent doesn’t know the answer. But she speculates that the frequency of sex with a variety of women increases the sex drive. And increased sex means that during orgasm the concentration of carcinogens is reduced in the prostate gland.
The same theory has been proposed for the prevention of colon cancer. In effect, normal bowel movements decrease the time carcinogens have contact with the wall of the colon and therefore also decrease risk of this disease. But many question this theory and I’m sure many will also question Parent’s research.
However, a Harvard study also showed that men who had sex 21 times a month had a 33% less risk of prostate cancer than men who had sex four to seven times a month.
Parent declares more research on this matter is obviously required. But 70 years ago I would have applauded her decision, and sacrificed moral standards in the interest of science to participate in this project. But alas, for those of my age, all we can do is cry in our beer that it is too late to volunteer.
This year 250,000 North American males will be diagnosed wit0h prostate cancer. But since many have a slow growing form of the disease, only 30,000 will die from it. As a world authority aptly remarked, “Getting older is invariably fatal, cancer of the prostate only sometimes.”
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