Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age


  • R.P. is the BAUS Section of Oncology Representative. R.E and K.R.M are joint senior authors. Lists available on request for The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study Collaborators, Surrey, and British Association of Urological Surgeons Section of Oncology, London, UK.

Polyxeni Dimitropoulou, University Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Box 279 (S4), Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 0QQ, UK.
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Kenneth Muir, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK.



To examine, in a case-control study, the association between the frequency of sexual activity (intercourse, masturbation, overall) and prostate cancer risk in younger men diagnosed at ≤60 years old.


In all, 431 prostate cancer cases and 409 controls participated and provided information on their sexual activity. In particular, the frequencies of intercourse and masturbation during the participants’ different age decades (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s) were collected.


Whereas frequent overall sexual activity in younger life (20s) increased the disease risk, it appeared to be protective against the disease when older (50s). Alone, frequent masturbation activity was a marker for increased risk in the 20s and 30s but appeared to be associated with a decreased risk in the 50s, while intercourse activity alone was not associated with the disease.


These findings could imply different mechanisms by which sexual activity is involved in the aetiology of prostate cancer at different ages. Alternatively, there is a possibility of reverse causation in explaining part of the protective effect seen for men in their 50s.