New analysis has found that circumcision before a male’s first sexual experience could protect against prostate cancer.
The new research, led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, found that circumcision can prevent infection and inflammation that may lead to the disease. The work adds scientific reason to what was a grey area at birth, showing that there could be significant health benefits of having the foreskin removed at birth.
Infections are known to cause cancer, and previous research has linked sexually transmitted infections to an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition, the researchers found that certain sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by circumcision leading them to conclude that circumcision should protect against the development of some cases of prostate cancer.
The study analysed information from 3,399 men (1,754 with prostate cancer and 1,645 without), and found that men who had been circumcised before their first sexual intercourse were 15 per cent less likely to develop prostate cancer than uncircumcised men.
Lead author Jonathan L. Wright, MD, an affiliate investigator in the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division said: "These data are in line with an infectious/inflammatory pathway which may be involved in the risk of prostate cancer in some men,"
"Although observational only, these data suggest a biologically plausible mechanism through which circumcision may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Future research of this relationship is warranted," he added.