Does Circumcision Reduce Cervical Cancer?

Prima facie there is no correlation between the HPV infection, circumcision, and cervical cancer. A couple of clinical studies showed that there is some correlation between circumcision and decreasing the risk of HPV infection on the penis. [01] [02]

Those studies when evaluated the data about the women who have only one sexual partner they found that the risk of cervical cancer is increased in women with uncircumcised partners only if the male partner is at high risk for getting infected with HPV. (The factors like sex with a prostitute, the total number of sexual partners, and age at first sexual intercourse were considered for accessing the high risk of getting HPV in male partners.)

What is Circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure which involves removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis. It has been practiced for decades as a solution for certain health problems, religious reasons, etc. Usually, the procedure is performed during childhood but can be done at any age, if indicated as a part of treatment for certain health conditions.

Does Circumcision Reduce HPV?

It has been believed and proved that the circumcision can reduce the risk of acquiring the HPV as well as HSV-2 infection. During circumcision, the foreskin of the penis is removed surgically due to which risk of epithelium infection at the tip of the penis reduces which might contribute to reducing the risk of acquiring HPV. [03]

But there is one conflicting study presented by Daugherty and colleagues at the American Urological Association meeting in Boston which says that circumcised men are more prone to get an HPV infection but as per the ‘Brian Morris’ who is a professor at ‘Emeritus School of Medical Sciences and Bosch Institute, The University of Sydney’, the study conducted by Daugherty is confounding due to various reason like study lacks confirmation of circumcision status, cross-sectional and suffer from methodological problems.[04]

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Bottom line – In the couple with a male considered as a high risk for getting an HPV infection, circumcision does not offer 100% advantage to protect the female partner from getting cervical cancer due to HPV. It might help in the couple where both partners are monogamous or never had multiple sexual partners.[/thrive_text_block]

References:
[01] Male Circumcision, Penile Human Papillomavirus Infection, and Cervical Cancer in Female Partners. N Engl J Med 2002; 346:1105-1112
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa011688
[02] Effect of Male Circumcision on the Prevalence of High-Risk Human Papillomavirus in Young Men: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial Conducted in Orange Farm, South Africa. DOI: 10.1086/595566
[03] Male Circumcision Reduces Risk of Genital Herpes and HPV Infection, but Not Syphilis. Ref: nih.gov
[04] Circumcised men at twice the risk for cancer-causing HPV, study shows Ref: healio.com

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