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May 1980

Circumcision and the Risk of Cancer of the Penis: A Life-Table Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Program in Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Dr McCurdy is now with the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(5):484-486. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130170034012

• The low incidence of penile cancer in the United States is frequently cited as a reason for not justifying the risk of neonatal circumcision as a prophylactic measure. Although uncircumcised men are uniquely at risk for this malignant neoplasm, previous approaches have used annual incidence data collected without regard to circumcision status, thus tending to underestimate the true risk to this susceptible group. In addition, the concept of lifetime risk has not been addressed. Using data from the Third National Cancer Survey and previously published circumcision prevalence figures in a life-table analysis, we estimated the lifetime risk for cancer of the penis in uncircumcised males. The predicted risk is 166 per 105, or one in 600; the estimated median age of occurrence is 67 years. These data deserve to be considered with other morbidity factors in the context of the neonatal circumcision debate.

(Am J Dis Child 134:484-486, 1980)

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