FALSE: Circumcision prevents cancer

American Cancer Society

FALSE: Circumcision prevents cancer
TRUE: The American Cancer Society established that already back in 1996

“As representatives of the American Cancer Society, we would like to discourage the American Academy of Pediatrics from promoting routine circumcision as preventive measure for penile or cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society does not consider routine circumcision to be a valid or effective measure to prevent such cancers.

Research suggesting a pattern in the circumcision status of partners of women with cervical cancer is methodologically flawed, outdated and has not been taken seriously in the medical community for decades.

Likewise, research claiming a relationship between circumcision and penile cancer is inconclusive. Penile cancer is an extremely rare condition, effecting one in 200.000 men in the United States. Penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice circumcision are lower than those found in the United States. Fatalities caused by circumcision accidents may approximate the mortality rate from penile cancer.

Portraying  routine circumcision as an effective mean of prevention distracts the public from the task of avoiding the behaviours proven to contribute to penile and cervical cancer: especially cigarette smoking and unprotected sexual relations with multiple partners. Perpetuating the mistaken belief that circumcision prevents cancer is inappropriate.”

Explore this data and many more interesting facts in The Circumcision Reference Library and learn more about why circumcision is a practice that should be abandoned and banned immediately.

Intactivists of Australasia have also posted an excellent piece on the supposed connection between reductions in penile cancer and circumcision rates as suggested by the infamous circumcision promoter Bran J. Morris; Cancer Council Australia refutes claims about circumcision and cancer of the penis

Please read the comments as well, important information posted by “Dreamer”.


5 thoughts on “FALSE: Circumcision prevents cancer

  1. This letter is not an official position of the ACS, but the opinion of two former staff members. This was a statement regarding the letter:

    A two-year-old letter being circulated on the Net discussing scientific
    evidence regarding penile cancer and its relationship to circumcision
    is personal correspondence reflecting the observations of two former
    ACS physician staff members. The American Cancer Society does not
    have a formal guideline statement on circumcision.

    Penile cancer is extremely rare in the United States and accounts
    for less than one half a percent of cancers diagnosed among men
    and less than one tenth of a percent of cancer deaths among men.

    Circumcision is the removal of a part or all of the male foreskin
    either at birth or later on. This practice has been suggested as
    giving some protection against cancer of the penis by contributing
    to improved hygiene.

    However, the penile cancer risk is low in some uncircumcised
    populations, and the practice of circumcision is strongly associated
    with socio-ethnic factors, which in turn are associated with lessened
    risk. The consensus among studies that have taken these other
    factors into account is circumcision is not of value in preventing
    cancer of the penis.

    Proven penile cancer risk factors include having unprotected sexual
    relations with multiple partners (increasing the likelihood of
    human papillomavirus infection), and cigarette smoking.

    Source: http://www.cirp.org/library/statements/letters/1996-02_ACS/commentary.html

    The American Cancer Society actually states this on their website:

    In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. But in many of those studies, the protective effect of circumcision was no longer seen after factors like smegma and phimosis were taken into account.

    Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Men who wish to lower their risk of penile cancer can do so by avoiding HPV infection and not smoking. Those who aren’t circumcised can also lower their risk of penile cancer by practicing good hygiene. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended solely as a way to prevent penile cancer.

    Source: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/PenileCancer/DetailedGuide/penile-cancer-prevention

    And in another article they state that:

    In weighing the risks and benefits of circumcision, doctors consider the fact that penile cancer is very uncommon in the United States, even among uncircumcised men. Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the Canadian Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine circumcision of newborns. In the end, decisions about circumcision are highly personal and depend more on social and religious factors than on medical evidence.


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  3. In Great Britain, the incidence of smoking among men and the habit of foreskin removal, both very common in the 1940s, have both declined markedly, therefore the claim that penile cancer is a major health risk, has even less credence.

    • I have always wondered whether the apparent connection between penile cancer and smoking is due to the intake of toxins or to the handling of the penis with contaminated fingers.

      An argument against the latter suggestion could be that the rate of cancer in the skin of the fingers should then more or less correlate to the penile cancer rates. Whether that’s the case I don’t know.

      It’s off topic, when it comes to genital mutilation, but curiosity is the corner stone in the house of knowledge, I find. 🙂

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