Circumcision could prevent prostate cancer... if it's performed after the age of 35

April 06, 2014

Researchers at the University of Montreal and the INRS-Institut-Armand-Frappier have shown that men circumcised after the age of 35 were 45% less at risk of later developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men. This is one of the findings that resulted from a study undertaken by Andrea Spence and her research directors Marie-Élise Parent and Marie-Claude Rousseau. The researchers interviewed 2114 men living on the Island of Montreal. Half of them had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2005 and 2009, while the others participated in the study as the control group. The questions covered their lifestyle and medical history, if they were circumcised, and if so, the age at which the operation had been performed.

Greater benefit for Black men

Across the board, the participants who were circumcised were 11% less likely to later develop a prostate cancer compared to those who weren't. The size of the reduction is not statistically significant. "This proportion reflects what has been shown in other studies," Parent explained. However, babies who were circumcised before the age of one were 14% less likely to develop prostate cancer. Moreover, the removal of the foreskin at a young age provides protection, over the long term, against the most aggressive forms of cancer.

Prostate cancer is rare amongst Jewish or Muslim men, the majority of whom are circumcised. While the specific causes of this cancer remain unknown, three risk factors have been identified: aging, a family history of this cancer, and Black African ethnic origins.

Amongst the 178 Blacks who took part in the study - of whom 78% were of Haitian origin - the risk of prostate cancer was 1.4 times higher than amongst Whites. 30% of the Black men were circumcised compared to 40% of the White men. Interestingly, the protective effect of the circumcision was limited to the Black men, whose risk of developing prostate cancer was decreased by 60%, with a very significant statistical effect.

Circumscribing the discovery

Researchers do not know what mechanism enables circumcision to protect men from prostate cancer. However, many studies have shown that this operation reduces the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (STI). "Unlike the skin that covers our bodies, the inner surface of the foreskin is composed of mostly non-keratinized mucosal epithelium, which is more easily penetrated by microbes that cause infections," Parent explained. Removing the foreskin could therefore reduce the risk of an infection that might be associated with prostate cancer. In any case, the protective effect of circumcision (in particular the effect observed in the Black population) must be confirmed by other studies, especially in consideration of the relatively few Black men who participated in research.
-end-
Notes:

The researchers are not currently available for interview.

Canada's Cancer Research Society, Quebec's Ministère du Développement Économique, Innovation et Exportation and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé contributed to the funding of this study. Professor Pierre Karakiewicz, M.D., of the University of Montreal's Department of Surgery and its affiliated CHUM Superhospital Research Centre, also contributed to this research. The University of Montreal is officially known as Université de Montréal.

University of Montreal

Related Prostate Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Low risk of cancer spread on active surveillance for early prostate cancer
Men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer have very low rates - one percent or less - of cancer spread (metastases) or death from prostate cancer, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

ESMO 2020: Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment
A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Major trial shows breast cancer drug can hit prostate cancer Achilles heel
A drug already licensed for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers is more effective than targeted hormone therapy at keeping cancer in check in some men with advanced prostate cancer, a major clinical trial reports.

The Lancet: Prostate cancer study finds molecular imaging could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Results from a randomised controlled trial involving 300 prostate cancer patients find that a molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

Common genetic defect in prostate cancer inspires path to new anti-cancer drugs
Researchers found that, in prostate cancer, a mutation leading to the loss of one allele of a tumor suppressor gene known as PPP2R2A is enough to worsen a tumor caused by other mutations.

First prostate cancer therapy to target genes delays cancer progression
For the first time, prostate cancer has been treated based on the genetic makeup of the cancer, resulting in delayed disease progression, delayed time to pain progression, and potentially extending lives in patients with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer, reports a large phase 3 trial.

Men taking medications for enlarged prostate face delays in prostate cancer diagnosis
University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers report that men treated with medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) experienced a two-year delay in diagnosis of their prostate cancer and were twice as likely to have advanced disease upon diagnosis.

CNIO researchers confirm links between aggressive prostate cancer and hereditary breast cancer
The study has potential implications for families with members suffering from these types of tumours who are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

Distinguishing fatal prostate cancer from 'manageable' cancer now possible
Scientists at the University of York have found a way of distinguishing between fatal prostate cancer and manageable cancer, which could reduce unnecessary surgeries and radiotherapy.

Researchers find prostate cancer drug byproduct can fuel cancer cells
A genetic anomaly in certain men with prostate cancer may impact their response to common drugs used to treat the disease, according to new research at Cleveland Clinic.

Read More: Prostate Cancer News and Prostate Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.