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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Solo sex linked to cancer

Young men who pleasure themselves are at increased risk of prostate cancer in later life, but masturbating in middle-age appears to protect against tumours, reports The Sun.

The link was discovered by researchers at Nottingham University who quizzed more than 800 men on their sex lives. Half had been diagnosed with cancer and half were free of the disease, as reported in The Sun.

They were asked how often they had sex, indulged in solo sex and the number of partners they had throughout their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.

Researchers found that 40 per cent of men with prostate cancer reported the highest levels of sexual activity.

Just over a third said they indulged in solo sex between two and seven times a week in their twenties, compared with just under a quarter of the control group. The same pattern continued in the thirties.

But in middle-age the trend reverses, with men who masturbate the most having a lowest incidence of tumours, says The Sun.

It is known that prostate cancer is linked to levels of the male hormone testosterone which also regulates a man's sex drive.

Dr Polyxeni Dimitropoulou, who is now at Cambridge University headed the study. He explains: "A man's sex drive is also regulated by his hormone levels, so this study examined the theory that having a high sex drive affects the risk of prostate cancer."

He says: "We found a significant association between prostate cancer and sexual activity in a man's twenties and between masturbation and prostate cancer in the twenties and thirties."

Dr Dimitropoulou adds: "A possible explanation for the protective effect that men in their fifties appear to receive from masturbation is that the release of accumulated toxins during sexual activity reduces the risk of developing cancer in the prostate area."

Every year 34,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer - but it is largely a disease of old age, with most cases occurring in men over 70.

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