Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. Circumcision advocates often use HPV as a scare tactic, asserting that circumcision prevents, or "reduces" its transmission. Like all other diseases that circumcision is supposed to prevent, however, the best "evidence" that is offered is statistical analyses of carefully selected data. There is, as of yet no established mechanism whereby circumcision prevents, or reduces the transmission of HPV.
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, or womb, and is situated at the top of the vagina. Cervical cancer develops when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix begin to multiply out of control and form pre-cancerous lesions. If undetected, these lesions can develop into tumours and spread into the surrounding tissue.
Cause of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is caused by infection with certain types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. While other factors such as the oral contraceptive pill, smoking, a woman's immune system and the presence of other infections also seem to play a part, a woman has to have been infected with certain 'high-risk' HPV types before cervical cancer can develop. High risk types 16 & 18 are responsible for ~70% of all cervical cancers. Abnormal cervical cells are also caused by HPV infection, and these may be detected when a woman has a routine Pap smear.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common virus that affects both females and males. There are more than 100 types of the virus. In fact, certain types of HPV cause common warts on the hands and feet. Most types of HPV are harmless, do not cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. About 40 types of HPV are known as genital HPV as they affect the genital area. More than 50% of people (males and females) will be infected with at least one type of genital HPV at some time.
Genital HPV types may be "high-risk" types (such as HPV Types 16 and 18) that can cause cervical pre-cancer and cancer, or "low-risk" types (such as HPV Types 6 and 11) that can cause genital warts and usually benign (abnormal but non-cancerous) changes in the cervix. Both the "high-risk" and "low-risk" types of HPV can cause abnormal Pap smears.
HPV is transmitted by sexual contact. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact could get genital HPV. That means it's possible to get the virus without having intercourse. And, because many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, they can transmit the virus without even knowing it. A person can be infected with more than one type of HPV. HPV is highly contagious. It is estimated that many people get their first type of HPV infection within their first few years of becoming sexually active.
Genital HPV infection is not something to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. It is very common and most often goes away without any ill effects. It could almost be considered a normal part of being a healthy sexually active woman.
Castellsagué et al. (2002) found that "HPV was present in 19.6% of uncircumcised men and 5.5% of circumcised men. Men who had had 6 or more sexual partners also had an increased risk of infection. After adjustment for confounding variables, circumcision remained associated with less frequent HPV infection." The same Castellsagué (2014) found that circumcision was practically useless for HPV prevention.
Tobian (2009) claimed that "male circumcision significantly reduced the incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among men in three clinical trials." The study, led by scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Uganda, relied on data from the same randomized control trials in Africa that already showed that circumcision cuts in half the risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can cause AIDS. [... and so has the same faults as them.]
There are already two HPV vaccines available. HPV vaccine is administered to children before their sexual debut. Even if there would have ever been any HPV protection by circumcision, it is no longer necessary to circumcise anyone because of HPV protection at least now.
- (6 November 2008).
Penile cancer, cervical cancer, and circumcision, CIRP, Circumcision Reference Library. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- (15 August 2019).
Cervical Cancer, Doctors Opposing Circumcision. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- Ho, GY / Anna S. Kadish / RD Burk, et al. (29 October 1998): PV 16 and cigarette smoking as risk factors for high-grade cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, in: Int J Cancer. 78 (3): 281-5, PMID, DOI. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
- Castellsagué, Xavier, et al. (11 April 2020): Male circumcision, penile human papillomavirus infection, and cervical cancer in female partners, in: N Engl J Med. 346: 1105-1112.
- Frisch, Morten (18 February 2014).
BRAZIL, MEXICO, USA: Circumcision does not protect against HPV, Circumstitions News. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- Ginesa, Alberto / Xavier Castellsagué, et al. (2014): Male circumcision and the incidence and clearance of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men: the HPV Infection in men (HIM) cohort study, in: BMC Infectious Diseases. 14 (75). Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- Tobian, Aaron, et al. (26 March 2009): Male Circumcision for the Prevention of HSV-2 and HPV Infections and Syphilis, in: N Engl J Med. 360: 1298-1309, DOI. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- (16 May 2019).
Vaccine for HPV, CDC. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- (10 May 2019).
HPV vaccine overview, NHS. Retrieved 8 July 2020.