Does Masturbation Reduce the Risk of Testicular Cancer?


The answer to this question varies, depending on who you ask.  I am certainly not a medical doctor, but my vote would be that there is no correlation between amount of time spent masturbating and testicular cancer.  However, if you were to ask my oldest son, Jeremiah, you might get a different spin on the issue.

Recently, I was horrified when my younger sister, Vivian, mother to my twelve-year old nephew, Gabriel came to me with concerns about some advice that Jeremiah had given to a very impressionable young Gabe.  As Vivian reports it, the conversation went a little something like this:

Gabriel: (concerned) “As I’m getting older “things” are starting to uncontrollably “pop up” on me when I least expect it.  It’s really embarrassing and I’m not sure what to do about it.”

Jeremiah: (equally concerned) “If you don’t masturbate every day you will get ball cancer.”

In the words of my late mother, “Now I know why some animals eat their young at birth.”  Sufficed to say, I was humiliated and was for once, utterly speechless. 

The irony of the situation is that earlier in my conversation with my sister, I was telling her how both boys could be such a good influence on one another.  My son, Jeremiah has certainly veered from the straight and narrow path as of late, and I suppose I was subconsciously trying to salvage my sister’s opinion of him.  

Vivian is an  amazing person.   She is also a single mother, although that’s about to change as she is about to be married late this summer.  She is most likely a Republican as she is one of the most conservative people that I know (giggle).  She has worked and sacrificed intensely to provide my nephew with a very quality, yet sheltered lifestyle.  To my knowledge, he is still unable to play games that are not rated E.  However, I have witnessed the fruits of her labor, as Gabe has turned out to be an  incredible young man.  Sufficed to say, you won’t hear me poking fun (anymore) at my incessantly overprotective sibling. 

Sometimes I often find myself comparing me to her.  She is quite possibly the most self-disciplined, organized, hard-working, balanced person that I know (quite the opposite of me).  But how much does she really know about “ball cancer”?  In doing some research on the topic of Jeremiah and Gabriel’s conversation I found the following article from the BBC:

Masturbation ‘cuts cancer risk’
Men could reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer through regular masturbation, researchers suggest.They say cancer-causing chemicals could build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly.

And they say sexual intercourse may not have the same protective effect because of the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, which could increase men’s cancer risk.

Australian researchers questioned over 1,000 men who had developed prostate cancer and 1,250 who had not about their sexual habits.

This is a plausible theory 
Dr Chris Hiley, Prostate Cancer Charity
They found those who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to develop the cancer.The protective effect was greatest while the men were in their 20s.Men who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life.FluidPrevious research has suggested that a high number of sexual partners or a high level of sexual activity increased a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by up to 40%.But the Australian researchers who carried out this study suggest the early work missed the protective effect of ejaculation because it focussed on sexual intercourse, with its associated risk of STIs.

Graham Giles, of the Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, who led the research team, told New Scientist: “Had we been able to remove ejaculations associated with sexual intercourse, there should have been an even stronger protective effect of ejaculations.”

The researchers suggest that ejaculating may prevent carcinogens accumulating in the prostate gland.

The prostate provides a fluid into semen during ejaculation that activates sperm and prevents them sticking together.

The fluid has high concentrations of substances including potassium, zinc, fructose and citric acid, which are drawn from the bloodstream.

But animal studies have shown carcinogens such as 3-methylchloranthrene, found in cigarette smoke, are also concentrated in the prostate.

‘Flushing out’

Dr Giles said fewer ejaculations may mean the carcinogens build up.

“It’s a prostatic stagnation hypothesis. The more you flush the ducts out, the less there is to hang around and damage the cells that line them.”

A similar connection has been found between breast cancer and breastfeeding, where lactating appeared to “flush out” carcinogens, reduce a woman’s risk of the disease, New Scientist reports.

Another theory put forward by the researchers is that ejaculation may induce prostate glands to mature fully, making them less susceptible to carcinogens.

Dr Chris Hiley, head of policy and research at the UK’s Prostate Cancer Charity, told BBC News Online: “This is a plausible theory.”

She added: “In the same way the human papillomavirus has been linked to cervical cancer, there is a suggestion that bits of prostate cancer may be related to a sexually transmitted infection earlier in life.”

Anthony Smith, deputy director of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University in Melbourne, said the research could affect the kind of lifestyle advice doctors give to patients.

“Masturbation is part of people’s sexual repertoire.

“If these findings hold up, then it’s perfectly reasonable that men should be encouraged to masturbate,” he said.

Story from BBC NEWS: 2003/07/16 23:11:15 GMT

I realize that not everything that we read is the Gospel and that reporters have a way of spinning things to support their own points of views.  Nonetheless, could my wayward child be on to something?  Possibly so, my friend.  Possibly so.  However whether he is wrong or right, I had better not catch him “reducing his risk of ball cancer” when I’m at home.  Gag!  I pray that his preventative efforts be unknown to me…and you can guarantee that as of today I am going to quit hassling him about locking his bedroom door!

7 responses »

  1. now i just need to find a way to print this out and leave it somewhere where my wife will see it lol ill be like ‘do you want me to die of cancer?! then shut the door!’ haha

    • Ooh, I get where you’re coming from…but my child is probably NOT the best influence. And my sister is conservative, but she’s also “my sister” (lol)… That being said she’s pretty savvy and street smart. And my nephew, he’s a piece of work! I love that kid! He’s always coming up with something funny! 🙂

    • Well, my sister is pretty conservative but she still pretty street smart. After all, she is “my” sister… lol. She’s an awesome mom… probably 10X better than me. I wish I would have shielded my kids a bit more, to say the least. Plus, my nephew probably didn’t want to talk to my sister about boners anyway. I mean, who really wants to discuss boners with you mom? Me on the other hand, my oldest was 5 and I was taking a biology course where I had to dissect a fetal pig. This pig was a pretty good sized pig and I just brought the damn thing home with me. I taught my young son about the “birds and the bees” by saying, “So the sperm travels this route and fertilizes the egg here.” If he tried to giggle I’d just give him a really stupid look and say, “What’s funny? That’s just how God made us.” He got the lesson in a “scientific” kind of way. To date, that kid has no qualms in talking to me about anything related to sex.

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