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Penile cancer

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was debating with someone today about the "health benefits of circumcision" and when it came to penile cancer, I agreed that the evidence seems to show an increased rate in intact men but this was largely linked to phimosis. Then I said that the rate of penile cancer is low to begin with--lower than the rate of breast cancer for men. I have often read that here. However, she asked me for a link to back up this claim. Does anyone have such a link comparing rates of penile cancer to breast cancer in men? How about rates of penile cancer in non-circumcising nations compared to the US?

post #2 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NSmomtobe View Post

I was debating with someone today about the "health benefits of circumcision" and when it came to penile cancer, I agreed that the evidence seems to show an increased rate in intact men but this was largely linked to phimosis. Then I said that the rate of penile cancer is low to begin with--lower than the rate of breast cancer for men. I have often read that here. However, she asked me for a link to back up this claim. Does anyone have such a link comparing rates of penile cancer to breast cancer in men? How about rates of penile cancer in non-circumcising nations compared to the US?

I am thinking I know where this conversation occurred. 2whistle.gif Anyway there is some information on the wiki about it.

Quote:
It is estimated that about 1,910 new cases are diagnosed annually in the US and about 300 in the UK, and the number of annual deaths is about 440 in the US.

That particular quote is even sourced. Which is larger than the figures quoted where the discussion was taking place. I don't know of any study that directly compares the US and other European countries off the top of my head. Wallerstein E (February 1985). "Circumcision. The uniquely American medical enigma". Urol. Clin. North Am. 12 (1): 123–32. PMID 3883617 might help.

 

Frisch M, Friis S, Kjær SK, Melbye M. Falling Incidence Of Penis Cancer In An Uncircumcised Population (Denmark 1943-90). BMJ: British Medical Journal.1995;311(7018):1471. Noted that in the 90s the rate in Denmark fell to 0.8/100,000 in the 90s from 1.15/100,000 in the 40s. The decrease is attributed to hygene. This is the same rate as quoted in the US (1/100,000).

post #3 of 12

One important point to keep in mind in a debate like this is that the reduced risk of cancer needs to be traded off against the loss of other things, such as the pleasure and function of the foreskin.

 

For example, you could prevent all testicular cancer right now.  No more cases ever.  But you would have to castrate all male infants.  While this would prevent all testicular cancer, it also means that no men would be able to have children, all men would have to undergo hormone treatment or else live with the effects of too little testosterone (high voice, etc).  Women could only become pregnat through artificial insemination.

 

Obviously these disadvantages far outweigh the advantages of preventing testicular cancer.

 

Just so for penile cancer.  Removing the foreskin lessens the chances of penile cancer somewhat.  Note that men still have penises, so can still get penile cancer after being circumcised.  And I do not think anyone is advocating removing men's penises...too many negaitve consequences...

 

But the negative effects of RIC as a way to reduce the risk of penile cancer include:  Taking away a person's right to bodily intergrity, pain during the operation, complications, loss of the most important part of a man's sexual anatomy, loss of sexual function and feeling for the man, loss of sexual feeling and fucntion for his future partners, etc.

 

Depending upon how one values these negative consequences, one may see RIC as a good intervention or bad.  For me, it is clearly a bad decision to RIC because I value highly human rights, sexual function and feelings, keeping my childrens' options open, etc.

 

Regards

post #4 of 12

I would be tempted to also to turn it around..So, all females should cut off breast to prevent cancer too?

post #5 of 12

Often when this comes up- the fact that men get cancer of the breast more often than cacer of the penis is brought up.  While this may be true, I find the question of female genital cancer more interesting- more women get cancer of the labia than men get cancer of the penis- yet no one thinks we should cut off a girl's labia for prevention.

post #6 of 12

I think I saw some article some where that showed an infant male is more likely to die while being circ'd than he would be to die of penile cancer (after having enjoyed a reasonably long life, since penile cancer is a disease of old age) if left intact.  It's something I had suspected for a long time, but just a few months ago I found confirmation.  It might have been a Canadian article.

 

I need to go searching.

post #7 of 12
 

 

"One of every one million men who are circumcised will develop cancer of the penis each year. By comparison, 3 of every one million men who are not circumcised will develop penile cancer each year." - Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/pregnancybabies/circumcision.htm

 

 

"For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000."- American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancerinmen/detailedguide/breast-cancer-in-men-key-statistics

post #8 of 12

I read that the rate of death from circumcision (or bad recovery or whatever) is higher than the risk of SIDS... which is clearly higher than the risk of penile cancer...  Besides, we don't remove breasts from women to ensure they never get breast cancer... that would be ridiculous!  but... the risk of breast cancer is really high!  So why are we removing foreskins but not breasts over cancer?

post #9 of 12

I use the American Cancer Society as a source for all things cancer.

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/index 

 

The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for penile cancer in the United States are for 2010:

  • About 1,250 new cases of penile cancer will be diagnosed
  •  About 310 men will die of penile cancer

 

The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for male breast cancer in the United States are for 2010:

  • About 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men
  •  About 390 men will die from breast cancer

 

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for vulvar cancer in the United States are for 2010:

  • About 3,900 cancers of the vulva will be diagnosed
  • About 920 women will die of this cancer.


 

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Awesome! I knew this group would come through for me!

post #11 of 12

This quote is directly from CIRP.org, but you can follow their links to the actual studies

 

In "Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy," Edward Wallerstein writes14: "If infant circumcision reduces penile cancer we could expect to see proportionately less penile cancer in circumcising nations as compared to noncircumcising ones. No such difference is found." Wallerstein reports that, for various years between 1966 and 1972, the annual rate of new cases of penile cancer was 0.8 for the United States (which circumcises), and 0.5 for Finland, 0.9 for Denmark and 1.1 for both Norway and Sweden (all of which do not). None of these differences is statistically significant. Further, within the same time frame, both France and the United States had the same rate, 0.3, of deaths due to penile cancer.12

 

http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/cancer/

 

post #12 of 12

A big factor in penile cancer is smoking. Another is the presence of one of some strains of HPV. 

 

I read somewhere that 20% of penile cancer in intact men starts in the foreskin, so thats only a potential reduction of 20%

if there is no foreskin. There was a very old theory that smegma caused penile cancer, but that has been proven false.

 

Penile cancer is one of the rarest of all cancers and figures can be hard to get in some countries.

 

Cutting off healthy parts of infants because of a theoretical (but not necessarily real) reduction in extremely rare late life cancer is absurd. 

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