Circumcision reduces prostate cancer risk, most effective after age 35

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Cancer | Tuesday, February 09, 2016 - 11:30 AM

circumcision-reduces-prostate-cancer-riskCircumcision reduces prostate cancer risk and has been found to be most effective after the age of 35. The findings come from the University of Montreal and the INRS-Institut-Armand-Frappier, revealing that men circumcised after the age of 35 have a 45 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer, compared to uncircumcised men.

For the study, the researchers interviewed 2,114 men. Half of the men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2005 and 2009, and the other half were controls. Men were asked about their lifestyle and medical history, whether or not they were circumcised, at what age they were circumcised, and which procedure was performed.

Overall, men who were circumcised had an 11 percent reduction of the risk of prostate cancer, compared to men who were not circumcised. Babies who were circumcised prior to the age of one had a 14 percent reduction of prostate cancer risk, but also had better protection over the long term against more aggressive types of cancer.

Prostate cancer rates are generally lower among Jewish and Muslim populations, who regularly practice circumcision. Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, family history, and Black African origins.

Among the 178 African origin participants in the study, prostate cancer risk was 1.4 times higher than that in Whites, and only 30 percent of Blacks were circumcised, compared to 40 percent of Whites. Important to note, though, is that Blacks experienced greater benefits from being circumcised, as their risk of developing prostate cancer was reduced by 60 percent if they were circumcised.

Researchers are still unaware of the mechanisms, which endow circumcision with its protective benefits against prostate cancer, but extensive research points to the fact that being circumcised reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer and STD.

Research director Marie-Élise Parent said, “Unlike the skin that covers our bodies, the inner surface of the foreskin is composed of mostly non-keratinized mucosal epithelium, which is more easily penetrated by microbes that cause infections.” Therefore, removing the foreskin may be able to reduce the risk of infection, which could contribute to prostate cancer. Lastly, additional research is required to establish the connection between the greater benefits of circumcision seen in Blacks.

Male circumcision potential benefits and risks

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin commonly seen in many cultures and religions. Circumcision can also be done for health reasons and as a means of preventative health care. In some occurrences, the removal of the foreskin is necessary, as there may be a problem, when the foreskin is pulled to far back over the glands, for example.

Here are some additional benefits associated with circumcision. It:

  • Makes hygiene easier.
  • Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Prevents the risk of penile problems.
  • Reduces the risk of penile cancer.

Although there are benefits to circumcision, it is not for everybody. A person who has a blood-clotting disorder cannot undergo circumcision, and circumcision is not recommended for premature babies still in care units.

Other points to note is that circumcision does not impact male fertility, nor does it reduce sexual pleasure for the man or his partner.

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