Evidence for Masturbation and Prostate Cancer Risk: Do We Have a Verdict?

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Sexual Medicine Reviews


Introduction: Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men and remains one of the most diagnosed malignancies worldwide. Ongoing public health efforts continue to promote protective factors, such as diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle modifications, against PCa development. Masturbation is a nearly universal safe sexual activity that transcends societal boundaries and geography yet continues to be met with stigma and controversy in contemporary society. Although previous studies have examined associations between sexual activity and PCa risk, anecdotal relations have been suggested regarding masturbation practice and PCa risk. Aim: To provide a summary of the published literature and examine the contemporary evidence for relations between masturbation practice and PCa risk. Methods: A survey of the current literature using seven academic electronic databases was conducted using search terms and key words associated with masturbation practice and PCa risk. Main Outcome Measures: The practice of masturbation and its relation to PCa risk. Results: The literature search identified study samples (n = 16) published before October 2015. Sample inclusions varied by study type, sample size, and primary objective. Protective relations (n = 7) between ejaculation through masturbation and PCa risk were reported by 44% of the study sample. Age range emerged as a significant variable in the relation between masturbation and PCa. Conclusion: Findings included relations among masturbation, ejaculation frequency, and age range as individual factors of PCa risk. No universally accepted themes were identified across the study sample. Throughout the sample, there was insufficient agreement in survey design and data reporting. Potential avenues for new research include frequency of ejaculation and age range as covarying factors that could lead to more definitive statements about masturbation practice and PCa risk.

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