Note: The following information is contained in the website http://www.circinfo.net/, and it has been copied with permission. This is not an exact copy of all the information found on the website http://www.circinfo.net/. For an exact text of the information contained in that site, please go onto the above mentioned site.
Lack of circumcision:
- Is responsible for a 12-fold higher risk of urinary tract infections. Risk = 1 in 20.
- Confers a higher risk of death in the first year of life (from complications of urinary tract infections: viz. kidney failure, meningitis and infection of bone marrow).
- One in ~400-900 uncircumcised men will get cancer of the penis. A quarter of these will die from it and the rest will require at least partial penile amputation as a result. (In contrast, invasive penile cancer never occurs or is infinitesimally rare in men circumcised at birth.) (Data from studies in the USA , Denmark and Australia , which are not to be confused with the often quoted, but misleading, annual incidence figures of 1 in 100,000).
- Is associated with balanitis (inflammation of the glans), posthitis (inflammation of the foreskin), phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (constriction of the penis by a tight foreskin). Up to 18% of uncircumcised boys will develop one of these by 8 years of age, whereas all are unknown in the circumcised. Risk of balanoposthitis = 1 in 6. Obstruction to urine flow = 1 in 10-50.
- Means increased risk of problems that may necessitate circumcision later in life. Also, the cost can be 10 times higher for an adult.
- Is the biggest risk factor for heterosexually-acquired AIDS virus infection in men. 8-times higher risk by itself, and even higher when lesions from STIs are added in. Risk per exposure = 1 in 300.
- In the female partners of uncircumcised men is associated with higher incidence of cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility from blockage of fallopian tubes, extopic pregnancy, genital herpes, and other conditions.
Getting circumcised will result in:
- Having to go through a very minor surgical procedure that carries with it small risks.
- Improved hygiene.
- Much lower risk of urinary tract infections.
- Much lower chance of acquiring AIDS heterosexually.
- Virtually complete elimination of the risk of invasive penile cancer.
It is hoped that this review will prove informative to medical practitioners and health workers, thereby enhancing the quality of information that is conveyed to parents of male children and to adult men. It should also prove to have educational value to others, especially the parents of boys, but also adult men, whether circumcised or not. It is hoped that as a result of reading the information presented here the choice that has to be made concerning circumcision, especially of infants, will be a much more informed one. Although there are benefits to be had at any age, they are greater the younger the male. Issues of 'informed consent' may be analogous to those parents have to consider for other medical procedures, such as whether or not to immunize their child. The question to be answered is 'do the benefits outweigh the risks'. When considering each factor in isolation there could be some difficulty in choosing. However, when viewed as a whole the answer to whether to circumcise a male baby must surely be 'YES'. Nevertheless, everybody needs to weigh up all of the pros and cons for themselves and make their own best decision. Hopefully the information provided here will help in the decision-making process.