Dr. Helen

Is Circumcision Healthy, Outdated or Dangerous?

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang has taken a strong stance against circumcision:

Outsider presidential hopeful Andrew Yang’s latest idea is both literally and figuratively his most unorthodox yet: He’s taking a strong public stance against circumcision.

The Democratic candidate revealed in a little-noticed tweet last week that he was against the ritualized practice of cutting a newborn’s foreskin. But in an interview with The Daily Beast, he said that if he were elected he would incorporate that view into public policy, mainly by pushing initiatives meant to inform parents that they don’t need to have their infants circumcised for health reasons.

“It’s sort of pushed on parents in many situations,” Yang said, describing pressure to circumcise a child as a “cultural onus” imposed on families…


Circumcision has already been declining in recent years, but experts fear that this puts men at risk for health problems later in life:

Circumcision for male infants is becoming less common in the U.S., according to new data published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The paper also finds that over their lifetime, half of all uncircumcised males will contract a medical condition related to their foreskin…

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed more than 500 studies, finding that circumcision reduces risk for HIV transmission in heterosexual men by 60 percent, genital herpes by 30 percent, and cancer-causing strains of HPV by 35 percent.

Some research suggests that circumcision in infancy actually lowers the risk for prostate cancer in adulthood. A study of 3,400 men found those who were circumcised before their first sexual intercourse were 15 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who were not.

Opponents of circumcision say removing the foreskin decreases sensitivity and limits sensation during sexual activity. Others say circumcision is a human rights issue, and that it’s unethical for a family to make the decision for their child.


What do you think? Is circumcision outdated, healthy or dangerous?

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