Is Circumcision Related to Cervical Cancer Risk?

Ivor Benjamin, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Question
Is a woman at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer if her spouse is uncircumcised vs. a spouse that is circumcised?


Answer
Ivor Benjamin, MD, Former co-Editor-in-Chief of OncoLink, responds:

Possibly. There is some medical evidence to support an increased risk for developing cervical cancer in women who have male sexual partners that are uncircumcised. In 1993, Agarwal et al (1) reported that: "Sex with uncircumcised men or men circumcised after age 1 year increased the risk of cervical cancer (RR, 4.1)."

However, other studies have not shown a statistically significant increase in cervical cancer women with uncircumcised partners. Kjaer et al (2) reported that circumcision was a potentially important—although not statistically significant protective factor against cervical cancer (RR = 0.3, p = 0.18). The most significant risk determinants were a history of genital warts in the male (RR = 17.9 for ever vs. never) and ever having used condoms (RR = 0.2).

(1) Cancer 1993 Sep 1;72(5):1666-9

(2) Int J Cancer 1991 Apr 22;48(1):39-44

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