(AP) -- Women who perform the act of fellatio and swallow semen on a regular basis, one to two times a week, may reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 40 percent, a North Carolina State University study found.
Doctors had never suspected a link between the act of fellatio and breast cancer, but new research being performed at North Carolina State University is starting to suggest that there could be an important link between the two.
In a study of over 15,000 women suspected of having performed regular fellatio and swallowed the ejaculatory fluid, over the past ten years, the researchers found that those actually having performed the act regularly, one to two times a week, had a lower occurrence of breast cancer than those who had not. There was no increased risk, however, for those who did not regularly perform.
"I think it removes the last shade of doubt that fellatio is actually a healthy act," said Dr. A.J. Kramer of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "I am surprised by these findings, but am also excited that the researchers may have discovered a relatively easy way to lower the occurrence of breast cancer in women."
The University researchers stressed that, though breast cancer is relatively uncommon, any steps taken to reduce the risk would be a wise decision.
"Only with regular occurrence will your chances be reduced, so I encourage all women out there to make fellatio an important part of their daily routine," said Dr. Helena Shifteer, one of the researchers at the University. "Since the emergence of the research, I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances."
The study is reported in Friday's Journal of Medical Research.
In 1991, 43,582 women died of breast cancer, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Len Lictepeen, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said women should not overlook or "play down" these findings.
"This will hopefully change women's practice and patterns, resulting in a severe drop in the future number of cases," Lictepeen said.
Sooner said the research shows no increase in the risk of breast cancer in those who are, for whatever reason, not able to fellate regularly.
"There's definitely fertile ground for more research. Many have stepped forward to volunteer for related research now in the planning stages," he said.
Almost every woman is, at some point, going to perform the act of fellatio, but it is the frequency at which this event occurs that makes the difference, say researchers. Also key seems to be the protein and enzyme count in the semen, but researchers are again waiting for more test data.
The reasearch consisted of two groups, 6,246 women ages 25 to 45 who had performed fellatio and swallowed on a regular basis over the past five to ten years, and 9,728 women who had not or did not swallow. The group of women who had performed and swallowed had a breast cancer rate of 1.9 percent and the group who had not had a breast cancer rate of 10.4 percent.
"The findings do suggest that there are other causes for breast cancer besides the absence of regular fellatio," Shafteer said. "It's a cause, not THE cause."