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Quick Uptakes
March 24/31, 1999

Circumcision Isn't Necessary

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Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical Association

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JAMA. 1999;281(12):1075. doi:10.1001/jama.281.12.1075-JQU90001-2-1

After analyzing nearly 40 years of medical research on the practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has concluded that circumcision does not merit a routine recommendation.

"Circumcision is not essential to a child's well-being at birth, even though it does have some potential medical benefits," said Carole Lannon, MD, chair of an AAP task force that produced a new policy statement appearing in this month's Pediatrics.

Studies show that the relative risk of developing a urinary tract infection in the first year of life is higher in male infants who are not circumcised. But the AAP said the absolute risk of infection remains low, at 1% or less. Similarly, uncircumcised men are at higher risk for penile cancer. But, because only 9 to 10 cases per year per 1 million men are diagnosed in the United States, the overall risk of penile cancer is extremely low. The AAP policy also stated that behavior is more important than circumcision status in the risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

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