Circumcision linked to lowered prostate cancer risk

Jun 04 2014, 11:10 IST
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Researchers suspect the connection may be the lower rate among circumcised men of sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers suspect the connection may be the lower rate among circumcised men of sexually transmitted diseases.
SummaryResearchers suspect the connection may be the lower rate among circumcised men of sexually transmitted diseases.

men are living with prostate cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men.

About 79 percent of U.S. men born in the 1970s and 1980s were circumcised as babies, according to Dr. Aaron Tobian of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. But the circumcision rate has been declining, he told Reuters Health.

Among males born in the U.S. in 1999, 62.5 percent were circumcised, and by 2010, the rate among newborns was below 55 percent, Tobian said.

Medicaid does not typically cover the procedure, which could lead to exaggerated socio-economic differences in STD-related health, Tobian added. “Insurers are also trending toward decreasing coverage for circumcision,” he said.

Dr. Christopher Cooper, a professor and urologist at the University of Iowa told Reuters Health that the Canadian study does not justify promoting circumcision as prostate cancer prevention

The number of black men studied was too small for any conclusions to be drawn, he notes. Only 103 of the participants with prostate cancer were black men, and only 75 of the healthy men in the comparison group were black.

“The STD mechanism is possible but quite a stretch,” Cooper said. He also pointed out that there were certain factors the researchers could not control in the study, such as how honest participants were about having STDs or, among the men circumcised as adults, the reason for their circumcision.

Parent told Reuters Health that even though the study was small, and she and her colleagues saw only a slightly reduced risk later in life among men who were circumcised as babies, the work is one more thing to consider when studying prostate cancer.

“We are too early in the game to make it a public recommendation. It could be that in the future it will be confirmed that it’s a good thing and may have an added protection from other diseases,” she added.

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