HomeOpinion & AnalysisCan sex, affect prostate cancer risk?

Can sex, affect prostate cancer risk?

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Michelle Madzudzo

AS we continue to fight COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, let us bear in mind that we also need to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

It’s that time of the year again when everyone is busy preparing for the famous breast cancer awareness month, where the country goes pink! It has become tradition in Zimbabwe that cancer is given priority and attention in October, when everyone will be focusing on breast cancer.

Usually, we go quiet after the October campaign as we wait to start the conversation again in October the following year. Let me remind the nation that breast cancer and cancer, in general, does not wait, neither should we. Cancer awareness campaigns should be carried out throughout the year, childhood cancers and men’s health are equally important.

Although often out of the spotlight, prostate cancer, is the number one cancer affecting our men. That’s a real cause for concern. With this in mind, Talk Cancer Zim aims to bring prostate cancer to the forefront of people’s awareness. Let’s talk about it!

Have you ever heard about the claim that having more sex and ejaculating more reduces the risk of prostate cancer. This is a health tip that may sound pretty good to many men. Have more sex, or masturbate more, and you might lower your odds of getting prostate cancer. Could it be true?

Over the years there has been growing interest in establishing a link between sex and prostate cancer.

This September, Talk Cancer Zim continues with its mandate to raise awareness, educating various corporates within the country on prostate cancer and one of the frequently asked question is, can sex have an effect on prostate cancer risk?

What does science really say?

Since prostate is a reproductive organ that produces fluid for ejaculate, researchers have long wondered if sexual factors influence a man’s risk of prostate cancer, some studies seem to provide good news for sexually active man, there are some researches that have been carried out and found a possible link between ejaculation and lower chances of prostate cancer.

It seems how you ejaculate doesn’t matter — sex, masturbation or wet dreams.

However, while research is promising, there is a lot scientists need to learn, some things to consider.

Scientists don’t know if ejaculation during sex or masturbation has the same benefits, its also unclear why ejaculation may help prostate health, experts are not sure, some believe that it can flush out harmful chemicals that might build up in semen.

Scientists also don’t know how much sex is considered optimal for one to reduce the risk for prostate cancer.

On the other hand, some studies have not found a benefit, the results are, therefore, inconclusive. Some researchers conclude that age is a more significant factor than ejaculation frequency.

Researchers are still studying the connection between ejaculation and prostate health.

So doctors may not be ready to write prescriptions for more sex yet. But since masturbation and sex probably won’t cause you any health problems, there is likely no harm in doing them more often, but I would want to emphasise the importance of safe sex because HIV and STIs still exist.

Most things that raise a man’s odds against prostate cancer, like age and family history of the disease aren’t things that they can change, but ejaculating more? That’s a job many men are willing to take on. However, controversy exists because no conclusive evidence demonstrates that the more a man ejaculates the lower his chances of getting prostate cancer. Simply put, researchers and scientists have not reached a consensus on whether sex protects us from prostate cancer and to what extent.

My advice

Generally speaking, there are ways to stay on top of prostate health as indicated below:

  • Various types of exercises can be helpful for men with prostate problems, kegel exercises can strengthen and train your pelvic floor muscles to help control urination. Exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming and tennis are also beneficial, regular exercises pares your risk of other conditions such as heart disease, stroke and other types of cancer as well.
  • Eat a fresh whole foods diet, choose whole grain bread, pasta and cereals
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, they are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that help your prostate cells to stay healthy.

Berries are highly recommended for good prostate health, men are encouraged to eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries.

  • Limit your consumption of red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, goat and processed meats.
  • Choose healthful fats such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) and avocados, limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products, avoid trans fats which are found in many fast foods and packaged foods.
  • Avoid sugar sweetened drinks, eat sweets as an occasional treat.
  • Cut down on salt, choose foods low in sodium. Limit the use of canned, processed and frozen foods.
  • Cut down or cut out alcohol.
  • Go and get screened.

These can lower your chances of getting prostate cancer.

Let’s fight prostate cancer.

  • Michele C Madzudzo is a radiation therapist and Talk Cancer Zim founder and president.

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