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This morning I was searching my Google Reader for a missing article on genetics and advanced prostate cancer when I came across this interesting article entitled, "Masturbation and Prostate Cancer Risk", which was a bit of an eye opener on a Monday morning to say the least.  The opening paragraph boldly declared:

"Frequent masturbation in young men is linked to higher risk of early prostate cancer, but it lowers prostate cancer risk for men in their 50s, a study shows."

WebMD reported that the author of the paper, published in the Brit J of Urology, told them that:

"Frequent masturbation during men's 20s and 30s increased their risk of
prostate cancer, but men in their 50s who
masturbated frequently had decreased risk."

Different results like this always leave me suspicious of meta data manipulation.  Thinking this was a large scale longitudinal study of 800 odd men, I was disappointed to discover they merely used questionnaires and apportioned risk.  Well, that's a poorly controlled study and it's anyone's guess what the real risk actually is.  Random associations and spurious findings are highly likely with this approach, especially given that different studies using different methodologies have elicited different results.

My conclusion?  An amusing, but likely spurious finding, unless a longitudinal epidemiology study can verify what, if anything, is really happening.

As for genetics, well I'm still looking for that particular paper…


ResearchBlogging.orgPolyxeni Dimitropoulou, Artitaya Lophatananon, Douglas Easton, Richard Pocock, David P. Dearnaley, Michelle Guy, Steven Edwards, Lynne O’Brien, Amanda Hall, Rosemary Wilkinson, Rosalind Eeles, Kenneth R. Muir (2009). Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age BJU International, 103 (2), 178-185 DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.08030.x

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3 Responses to “On prostate cancer, genetics and masturbation”

  1. Sarah Arrow

    Well, that makes some reading Sally.
    Just need to digest it now!

  2. Dave

    Thank You for the sceptical finding on this story. Having suffered and recovered from prostrate cancer it was not pleasant reading a story that seems to make one feel accountable for this horrific disease.
    I was sceptical from the start about how close the story was to the claim of an “old wives tale”. It doesn’t make you crazy it gives you cancer!

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