(HealthDay News) — Circumcision appears to confer a protective effect against the development of prostate cancer, according to research published online May 28 in BJU International.

Andrea R. Spence, Ph.D., of the University of Quebec in Laval, Canada, and colleagues conducted a case-control study involving 1,590 prostate cancer cases and 1,618 age-matched population controls. The authors sought to assess the association between circumcision and risk of prostate cancer.

The researchers found that, compared with uncircumcised men, circumcised men were at slightly lower risk of developing prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR], 0.89; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.76 to 1.04). Men circumcised at age 36 years or older were at significantly reduced risk of developing prostate cancer (OR, 0.55; 95 percent CI, 0.30 to 0.98). The protective effect of circumcision against prostate cancer was weaker among men who were circumcised within one year of birth (OR, 0.86; 95 percent CI, 0.72 to 1.04). According to race, the only group with an association between circumcision and reduced risk of prostate cancer was black men (OR, 0.40; 95 percent CI, 0.19 to 0.86).

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“Further research into the differences in effect of circumcision on prostate cancer risk by ancestry is warranted, as is the influence of age at circumcision,” the authors write.

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