Having several sexual partners could prevent prostate cancer

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A study suggests that sleeping with more than 20 women could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Males who had had sexual encounters with more than 20 females lowered their risk of the disease by around one third, and they were 19% less likely to develop the most aggressive form of the disease.

Contrastingly, males who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing the disease, compared with those who had never had sex with another male.

University of Montreal researchers are of the opinion that intercourse protects males, and the more promiscuous ones have more sex than those in monogamous relationships. However, for homosexual males this benefit is lost due to the high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and the damage intercourse causes to their bodies. Homosexual males with a single partner are not at greater risk.

Lead researcher, Dr Marie-Elise Parent, said the possibility exists that having many sexual partners results in a greater frequency of ejaculations and this has proven to be protective against prostate cancer. However, when questioned about whether a recommendation should be given to males by public health authorities to sleep with many females in their lives, Dr Parent said that we have not yet reached that point.

The study included in excess of 3200 males over a four-year period between 2005 and 2009. It found that males with prostate cancer were at double the risk if they had a relative with the disease. Researchers were however surprised to discover that the number of sexual partners affected the development of prostate cancer.

Males who stipulated that they had never experienced sexual intercourse were at double the risk of the disease, compared to those who had had intercourse.

It was found that males who had had sexual relations with more than 20 females during their lifetime experienced a reduction of 28% in their risk level, and 19% for aggressive forms of the disease.

In contrast, those who had slept with more than 20 males were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease of all types, compared to those who had never had intercourse with a male. Their risk was also increased by 500% to have a less aggressive form of the disease, compared to those who only had one mail partner.

Dr Parent stated that the team could only formulate ‘highly speculative’ hypothesis for this association.

She said it may be due to greater exposure to STIs or that anal intercourse causes physical prostate trauma.

Previous studies found that sexual intercourse could have a protective effect against prostate cancer as it reduces the amount of carcinogenic crystal-like substances in the fluid present in the prostate.

This particular study is the first to discover a connection between the risk of cancer and the number of sexual partners.

Dr Parent said they were fortunate to have participants in the study who were comfortable discussing their sexuality, regardless of their experiences. She said this has allowed them to draw the conclusion that the number and type of sexual partners should be considered to gain a better understanding of the causes of prostate cancer.

Image Credit: Pablo Docal

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