Circumcision can be linked to lower risk of prostate cancer

By on August 25, 2013
prostate cancer

A study that was conducted recently shows that circumcised men might have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer.

The study took place in the University of Washington where 1,754 men who had prostate cancer and 1,645 men without the disease were surveyed.

The findings were that men who had circumcision done before they had sexual intercourse for the first time had 15 percent less chance of developing prostate cancer later.

Dr. Jonathan Wright, who works as an assistant urology professor at the University of Washington said that this data shows that there is a biological mechanism which allows circumcision to decrease prostate cancer risk. He also stated that since the study was only  for observation purposes, no links between the cause and the effect were investigated.

However, the reason behind this may be that uncircumcised men had a bigger chance of catching sexually transmitted diseases. According to the researchers, the inflammation that occurs from the infection can have a part in the prostate cancer development.

Cancer and Circumcision

prostate-gland-and-cancerSince the results of the study were based on a number of men who had prostate cancer at a certain point in time, without following up with them as time passed starting with circumcision until developing cancer, some other experts are concerned that these results may be skewed for number of reasons.

Dr. Durado Brooks, who is the director of colorectal and prostate cancers in the American Cancer Society said that it is an interesting and certainly thought-provoking study.

He continued that these findings should be backed up by studies among other groups of subjects. He doesn’t believe it will be something that will change clinical practice, not in adults and not in children.

For those parents who are considering the benefits of circumcision should be more convinced because the procedure lowers infection risks, however thinking about possible prostate cancer 50 years in the future will be on their mind much less, told Dr. Brooks to MyHealthNewsDaily.

Even though medical organizations have notices some benefits that may come from circumcision, they don’t advocate it to be something of a routine  since the procedure itself could have complications.

Dr. Andrew Freedman, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, specializing in circumcision and pediatric urology said that there are both benefits and risks and every parent needs to think them through and decide what is best for their child.

APP last reaffirmed their position on circumcision in 2005, they are not revisiting it and will release a new statement later this year.

Adult Circumcision

Freedman was most concerned about the fact that according to the study, the highest prostate cancer rates were seen in men who  had been circumcised in their adulthood.

Even though this was the smallest group in the study and most likely the results are not conclusive enough, Freedman said that because of this inclusion of men with those who were not circumcised might have made the circumcision benefits seem larger than they really were.

According to Freedman, adult men might get a circumcision because they are worried about infections. However, if circumcision is done after the man has already become sexually active, inflammatory damage and STI may already be acquired, said Brian Morris from the University of Sydney.

Morris also noted that he is probably advocating circumcision more than the rest of the medical professionals as he has published a research that shows how circumcision in infancy cuts costs on treating infections later.

Morris has noted that there are more urinary tract infections in men who have not been circumcised, he would like to do more research on whether or not this and prostate cancer is connected.

Source: The study was published in Cancer journal on March 12 2013.

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