Can Masturbation Cut Prostate Cancer Risk
In this area of interest, a study that took information from 32,000 men looked at whether regular ejaculation helps to prevent prostate cancer.
The researchers published their work in the journal European Urology and reported that more frequent ejaculation might lead to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Among men aged 2029 years old who had 21 or more ejaculations a month, there were 2.39 fewer in every 1,000 who developed prostate cancer when the researchers compared them to those ejaculating 47 times a month.
Among men who were aged 4049 years old, there were 3.89 fewer people per 1,000 who developed prostate cancer.
The reasons for these results are unclear, but one theory refers to prostate stagnation. This means that less frequent ejaculation allows prostate secretions to build up, possibly contributing to cancer.
An earlier study threw light on other potential aspects of prostate cancer, indicating that frequent sexual activity in younger life increased the risk of prostate cancer. However, the study also indicated that this activity seemed to give protection against the disease when people were older.
While many men experience sexual issues following prostate cancer treatment, these issues are not often due to prostate cancer itself.
More active treatments for cancer, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy, may lead to sexual dysfunction.
Treatment options with a risk of erectile dysfunction include:
Soreness In The Groin
When prostate cancer spreads, its common for cancer cells to go to your lymph nodes and then move to more areas of your body. The lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infections.
There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are the ones closest to your prostate, so its common for the cancer to spread to them first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluid and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. As a result, you might experience pain or soreness in the area.
Whos At Risk For Prostate Cancer
All men are at risk of having prostate cancer. About one man in nine will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime, but only one in 39 will die of this disease. About 80% of men who reach age 80 have cancer cells in their prostate. Besides being male, there are other things that contribute to the risk.
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Family History And Genetics
Your family history is information about any health problems that have affected your family. Families have many common factors, such as their genes, environment and lifestyle. Together, these factors can help suggest if you are more likely to get some health conditions.
Inside every cell in our body is a set of instructions called genes. These are passed down from our parents. Genes control how the body grows, works and what it looks like. If something goes wrong with one or more genes , it can sometimes cause cancer.
Is prostate cancer hereditary?
If people in your family have prostate cancer or breast cancer, it might increase your own risk of getting prostate cancer. This is because you may have inherited the same faulty genes.
My father had prostate cancer. What are my risks?
- You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer.
- Your chance of getting prostate cancer may be even greater if your father or brother was under 60 when he was diagnosed, or if you have more than one close relative with prostate cancer.
- Your risk of getting prostate cancer may also be higher if your mother or sister has had breast cancer.
Do you have a family history of prostate cancer?
If you’re over 45 and your father or brother has had prostate cancer, you may want to talk to your GP. Our Specialist Nurses can also help you understand your hereditary risk of prostate cancer.
What Does It Mean If You Have Chronic Prostate Pain
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an infection that comes back again and again. This rare problem can be hard to treat. Sometimes, taking antibiotics for a long time may work. Talk with your doctor about other things you can do to help you feel better. Chronic prostatitis, also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a common prostate problem.
The growing problem of an enlarged prostate gland. The most common prostate problem among men over age 50, this condition can cause embarrassing urination issues. By age 60, half of all men will have an enlarged prostate, a condition also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
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What We Dont Know
While research is promising, thereâs still a lot scientists need to learn. Some things to consider:
- Thereâs no proof that ejaculating more actually causes lower chances of prostate cancer. For now, doctors just know theyâre connected. It may be that men who do it more tend to have other healthy habits that are lowering their odds.
- Ejaculation doesnât seem to protect against the most deadly or advanced types of prostate cancer. Experts donât know why.
- Scientists donât know if ejaculation during sex vs. masturbation has the same benefits. Some research has found that the makeup of semen is different for each. For example, semen during sex has higher levels of sperm and some chemicals. Itâs possible that these could make a difference in a manâs odds of having prostate cancer.
- Not all studies have found a benefit. The 2016 study got attention because of its size and length . But some smaller studies have not shown the same good results. A few even found that some men, specifically younger men, who masturbated more had slightly higher chances of prostate cancer. Some researchers wonder if a manâs age may affect whether more ejaculation helps.
Screenings Can Lead To High Costs
The cost for a PSA test is fairly lowabout $40.
If your result is abnormal, the costs start adding up. Your doctor will usually refer you to a urologist for a biopsy. Costs may include:
- A consultation fee .
- An ultrasound fee .
- Additional professional fees .
- Biopsy fees .
If the biopsy causes problems, there are more costs. You might also have hospital costs.
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How Will Treatment Affect My Libido
Prostate cancer may dampen your sex drive. Knowing that you have cancer and going through treatment can both cause you to feel too anxious to have sex.
Hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer can also affect your libido. This treatment slows prostate cancer growth by lowering testosterone levels in your body. You need testosterone to have a healthy sex drive. Hormone therapy can also affect your self-esteem and sex drive by making you gain weight or causing your breast tissue to enlarge. If your hormone levels are low, your doctor may be able to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to bring them back up to normal. This depends on your overall cancer treatment plan.
2013 study , about 3 percent of participants reported that they had a reduced penis size after radical prostatectomy or radiation plus hormone therapy. The men said their smaller penis affected their relationships and their satisfaction with life.
For men who do experience this, the change in size is generally half an inch or less. This decrease in size may be due to tissues shrinking in the penis. These tissues may shrink because of nerve and blood vessel damage.
If youre concerned about this side effect, ask your doctor about taking a drug for an erectile dysfunction , such as Cialis or Viagra. The increased blood flow from these drugs may help prevent your penis from getting smaller. Theyll also help with acquiring and maintaining an erection.
Does Sex Affect The Risk Of Prostate Cancer
In 2016, a study that appeared in European Urology looked at whether frequent ejaculation protects against prostate cancer.
The investigation involved almost 32,000 men and looked to build on previous research, which had found that more regular ejaculation seemed to lower prostate cancer risk.
This new research also concluded that ejaculating more often lowered the chances of prostate cancer.
However, the authors called for further research because other factors, aside from ejaculation, could account for the results. They could not confirm that ejaculation protects against prostate cancer.
One theory, which is known as prostate stagnation, suggests that ejaculating less often allows potentially cancer-causing secretions to build up.
It often helps people to hear about the experiences of others, which can make them feel less alone in their situation.
On healthtalk.org, men talk on camera about their experiences of sexual dysfunction and prostate cancer.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Treated
For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, your doctor may suggest either “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”.
The best option depends on your age and overall health. Both options involve carefully monitoring your condition.
Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages.
- radiotherapy either on its own or alongside hormone therapy
Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer has spread.
If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body and cannot be cured, treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.
All treatment options carry the risk of significant side effects, including erectile dysfunction and urinary symptoms, such as needing to use the toilet more urgently or more often.
For this reason, some men choose to delay treatment until there’s a risk the cancer might spread.
Newer treatments, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound and cryotherapy, aim to reduce these side effects.
Some hospitals may offer them as an alternative to surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy.
But the long-term effectiveness of these treatments is not known yet.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer In Young Men
Common estimates suggest that early-onset prostate cancer comprises roughly 10 percent of all prostate cancer occurrences. As mentioned previously, the number of cases of early-onset prostate cancer is increasing, and has increased roughly six-fold from 5.6 to over 30 cases per 100,000 person-years since 1986. Additionally, and the same as with all prostate cancer diagnoses, the largest proportion of those diagnosed are African American males.1,2
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How Is Prostate Cancer Detected
There is no single test to detect prostate cancer. The two most common tests are the prostate specific antigen blood test and the digital rectal examination .
The PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood. It does not specifically test for cancer. Virtually all PSA is produced by the prostate gland. The normal range depends on your age. A PSA above the typical range may indicate the possibility of prostate cancer. However, two-thirds of cases of elevated PSA are due to noncancerous conditions such as prostatitis and BPH.
A DRE is generally conducted by a urologist to feel the prostate. While DRE is no longer recommended as a routine test for men who do not have symptoms of prostate cancer, it may be used to check for any changes in the prostate before doing a biopsy.
If either of these tests suggest an abnormality, other tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, usually a magnetic resonance imaging scan and transrectal ultrasound biopsy.
Testosterone Therapy And Prostate Cancer
Now lets discuss the situations where giving testosterone therapy might be acceptable in a man with known prostate cancer.
The first situation is giving testosterone to men with low grade or benign tumors. Certain types of prostate cancer are so low grade they are essentially harmless. These types of prostate cancer never spread and should actually be called benign tumors. Unfortunately, the cancer terminology was wrongly assigned to these benign forms of prostate cancer decades ago and this policy of calling them cancer survives to this day.
The second situation where giving testosterone might be reasonably safe is when men have previously undergone therapy with surgery or radiation and appear to be cured. After an appropriate waiting period of somewhere between two and five years, the risk of cancer recurrence is generally quite low. Fear of using testosterone in this situation seems unfounded.
The third situation occurs in men with prostate cancer who have relapsed after surgery or radiation. This phenomenon is signaled by the development of a rising level of PSA in the blood. Traditionally, these men are managed with intermittent testosterone-lowering drugs such as Lupron or Firmagon. Studies show that long term cancer control is equal by using either intermittent Lupron or continuous Lupron.
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Survival Rates For Prostate Cancer
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. These rates cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.
Veterans And Prostate Cancer
One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. While studies have indicated that overall cancer incidence rates among men in the U.S. Veterans Affairs Health System mirrored those of the general population, statistics now show that the incidence rate for military personnel is 1 in 5. It is important to understand your personal risk. To help Veterans impacted by this disease, ZERO has set up programming specific to Veterans and their needs.
The United States has an aging veteran population, and your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Furthermore, veterans who were exposed to herbicides, such as Agent Orange, are also at increased risk. Talk with your healthcare team to understand your risk and make a plan for regular testing.
ZERO also has helpful PDFs available for print and download that provide information on the Mission Act for both patients and physicians. , and here for a PDF for physicians.
Another healthcare program available for uniformed service members and their families is TRICARE. TRICARE is a major part of the Military Health System and offers an expansive provider network and services in both military and civilian healthcare facilities. .
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How Is Hormone Therapy Used To Treat Hormone
Hormone therapy may be used in several ways to treat hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, including:
Early-stage prostate cancer with an intermediate or high risk of recurrence. Men with early-stage prostate cancer that has an intermediate or high risk of recurrence often receive hormone therapy before, during, and/or after radiation therapy, or after prostatectomy . Factors that are used to determine the risk of prostate cancer recurrence include the grade of the tumor , the extent to which the tumor has spread into surrounding tissue, and whether tumor cells are found in nearby lymph nodes during surgery.
The use of hormone therapy before prostatectomy has not been shown to be of benefit and is not a standard treatment. More intensive androgen blockade prior to prostatectomy is being studied in clinical trials.
Relapsed/recurrent prostate cancer. Hormone therapy used alone is the standard treatment for men who have a prostate cancer recurrence as documented by CT, MRI, or bone scan after treatment with radiation therapy or prostatectomy.
Hormone therapy is sometimes recommended for men who have a “biochemical” recurrencea rise in prostate-specific antigen level following primary local treatment with surgery or radiationespecially if the PSA level doubles in fewer than 3 months.
What Does It Mean To Get Prostate Cancer As A Younger Man
Early-onset prostate cancer is currently being investigated in order to better understand this group and their case presentations. Typically, those who are diagnosed at a younger age have been found to possess more genetic variants, or mutations that can contribute to cancer.
These individuals also typically have a familial history of the condition, with the greatest risk in those who have one or more close relative with early-onset prostate cancer. Findings like these suggest that early-onset prostate cancer is tied more to genetic factors that to environmental factors, such as smoking or diet.
General findings for those with high grade or stage early-onset prostate cancer trend towards a higher cause-specific mortality than their older counterparts. This means that individuals with aggressive early-onset prostate cancer are typically more likely to die from prostate cancer. This could be because they are less likely to die from conditions more present in older men. For example, a male at age 90 might have a heart condition in addition to his prostate cancer that may threaten his life more than a slow-spreading cancer.
Prostate Cancer And Agent Orange
Certain unique factors may put veterans, especially those who served in the Vietnam or Korean wars, at increased risk for developing prostate cancer. A 1996 report published by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that there is a link between prostate cancer and exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam and Korean wars. Similarly, a 2013 study conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University found that veterans exposed to Agent Orange were at an increased risk for both developing prostate cancer and developing more aggressive forms of the disease.
Veterans with prostate cancer who were exposed to herbicides during active service may be eligible for disability compensation through the VA. There are several eligibility requirements to receive these benefits, and it is important to contact the VA directly if you think you are eligible.