PROtEuS Result: Circumcision Linked To Reduced Risk Of Prostate Cancer In Men
    By News Staff | May 29th 2014 12:55 AM | 15 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Circumcision is performed for various reasons, including those that are based on religion, aesthetics, or health, but a paper
    in BJU International adds to a growing list of advantages to circumcision; it finds rhat the procedure may help prevent prostate cancer in some men.  

    Besides advanced age, African ancestry, and family history of prostate cancer, no other risk factors for prostate cancer have been definitively established. This has fueled the search for modifiable risk factors. Marie-Élise Parent, PhD and Andrea Spence, PhD, of the University of Quebec's INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, led a team that designed an observational study to investigate the possible association between circumcision and prostate cancer risk.

    Their study, called PROtEuS (Prostate Cancer and Environment Study), included 1590 prostate cancer patients diagnosed in a Montréal hospital between 2005 and 2009, as well as 1618 healthy control individuals. In-person interviews were conducted to gather information on sociodemographic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

    Circumcised men had a slightly lower risk, albeit not statistically significant, of developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men. Circumcision was found to be protective in men circumcised when they were older than 35 years, with the procedure decreasing their risk by 45%. A weaker protective effect was seen among men circumcised within 1 year of birth, with the procedure decreasing their risk by 14%. The strongest protective effect of circumcision was recorded in Black men, who had a 60% reduced risk if they were circumcised, but no association was found with other ancestral groups. "This is a particularly interesting finding, as Black men have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world and this has never been explained," said Dr. Parent. "This novel finding warrants further examination in future studies that have a larger number of Black participants."

    Dr. Parent noted that circumcision may reduce the risk of contracting and maintaining a sexually transmitted infection, which has been postulated to be a risk factor for prostate cancer. This may explain the reduced risk of prostate cancer observed in males circumcised at a younger age prior to any potential exposure to infection. "We do not know why a protective effect was observed for men circumcised after the age of 35. These men may have had a pathologic condition of the foreskin that lead to them being circumcised," she said.

    Another study related to circumcision published in BJU International addresses the issue of HIV infection and circumcision. Previous studies have found that circumcision reduces a man's risk of becoming infected with HIV by 50% to 60%, and the procedure has the potential to reduce the HIV epidemic in areas of Eastern and Southern Africa where circumcision is uncommon and the epidemic most severe.

    As circumcision is promoted in these regions, HIV-positive men will likely seek the procedure either because they do not know their HIV status or to avoid being stigmatized.

    If post-surgical complications arise and intercourse is resumed before wound healing is complete, there may be an increased risk of HIV transmission to female partners. In this latest study, investigators in Uganda and the United States found that HIV infection does not significantly impair healing of circumcision wounds; therefore, HIV-positive men should not be denied the service if they request it.

    Source: Wiley


    Please see the following link for a brief summary, with linked references, of the ethical, legal and methodological flaws with past research informing the present campaign of circumcision-as-HIV-preventative in Africa (which also inform much of the "renewed interest" in circumcision in the English-speaking world), some of the adverse consequences of funding circumcision-as-HIV-preventative in Africa (coercion of men and boys to be circumcised; misdirection of limited medical resources from higher priority areas) and the absence of oversight of organisations promoting and facilitating male circumcision in Africa:

    The report said: "Circumcised men had a slightly lower risk, albeit not statistically significant, of developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men." If the finding was not statistically significant, then they found nothing.

    You need to take Statistics 101.
    Please explain how 'statistically insignificant' becomes 'statistically significant'.

    Significance is solely based on the null hypothesis. A high significance would simply mean little chance that the null hypothesis is false while a non-significant result does not mean it is true.

    You're reading a term used statistically and attaching a colloquial interpretation and declaring the result of the study is exactly the opposite of what they say it is - but that is your error, not theirs.
    I'm not using a term at all.
    I am asking you to clarify. You are talking in circles. The article states that the finding was statistically insignificant.
    You stated that someone "needs to take statistics 101".
    The article makes no mention of any 'null hypothesis".
    It's pretty easy to try and make a fool out of someone, by putting words they didn't say in their mouth, and ridiculing them.
    It is not as easy to back up your assertion that when the author says it was statistically insignificant, it was really statistically significant.

    It should be noted that correlation does not equal causation, or in this case, risk. Did the study examine the exact cause of prostate cancer in all 1590 patients?

    By this criteria, nothing will cause cancer. You can guzzle DDT and have 3 packs of cigarettes a day and neither of those can be considered an 'exact cause' of any cancer you may get. Because nothing is an exact cause of cancer, that is why it can't be cured. Trying to create an impossible set of criteria is an intellectual straw man. It may work on advocacy sites and seem very clever, but it is a non-starter in science.
    So, if intact men get cancer it's because they weren't circumcised, and if circumcised men get cancer it's because of ………the tooth fairy? Any sentence that begins with the words - "Circumcision prevents…" has always been, and still is, a medical fraud. The only thing amputation of the foreskin prevents is the enjoyment of sex as nature intended.

    There is growing evidence of the advantages of circumcision, only because the CDC, AAP, and AMA are determined to come up with something, anything, which proves that circumcision is beneficial, and should be continued.
    It makes over a billion dollars a year for the American medical community, and has been proven to prevent or cure nothing. Other countries have studied it, and determined that it is not beneficial. These include formerly circumcising countries, like the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Is their science crap? Or does the American medical machine simply not want to give up one of its favorite toys?

    So you are saying the Obama administration is in a vast right wing conspiracy with big business. That's an interesting take.
    Exactly where did I mention Obama, or a right wing conspiracy?
    Don't put words in my mouth.

    The administration runs the CDC and every other government regulatory body. Sorry, but if you allege that scientists working in those groups are being unethical and conspiring against your pet belief, you either need to show some data or be relegated to the crackpot fringe with the other birthers and truthers running around spouting nonsense.
    ...conspiracy, yes. Just like Gore and the anti-freon business. Right wing conspiracy, no. Circumcision is neither left nor right wing, just ignorant and stupid.

    Hank, I think you're missing the point that a couple of people have been trying to point out about statistical significance. The null hypothesis is that nothing was found; the alternative hypothesis was that something statistically significant was found. Even then there's still a 5% chance or a 1% chance or whatever that this was a random event, depending on the level of significance. If the finding doesn't reach statistical significance, then nothing significant has been found. Maybe it will be found later, maybe not.