An analysis has revealed that circumcision prior to a man’s 1st sexual intercourse could provide protection against prostate cancer. The research indicates that circumcision could prevent inflammation and infection that can lead to prostate cancer.
Infections are known to be a cause of cancer, and studies indicate that infections transmitted sexually can be a factor in the development of prostate cancer. In addition, a number of infections transmitted sexually could be prevented by circumcision. It therefore makes sense that circumcision should provide protection against the development of certain instances of prostate cancer.
The researchers analyzed information from 3,399 men (1,645 without prostate cancer and 1,754 with prostate cancer). Men that had been circumcised prior to their 1st sexual intercourse were 15% more unlikely to get prostate cancer compared to uncircumcised men. This lower risk applied to less aggressive as well as more aggressive cancers. Men circumcised prior to their 1st sexual intercourse had a 12% lower risk for getting less aggressive prostate cancer and an 18% lower risk for getting more aggressive prostate cancer.
Infections transmitted sexually could cause prostate cancer by leading to chronic inflammation that produces a favorable environment for cancer cells. Circumcision could provide protection against infections transmitted sexually, and consequently prostate cancer, by strengthening the inner foreskin and by eliminating the moist space beneath the foreskin that could enable pathogens survive.
This data is consistent with an inflammatory/infectious pathway which could be involved in prostate cancer risk in certain men. Though observational only, this data suggests a biologically plausible mechanism by which circumcision could reduce prostate cancer risk.
Image Source: Cleveland Clinic
References: DOI: 10.1002/cncr.26653
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