National Home Office
1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30329
February 16, 1996
Dr. Peter Rappo
Committee on Practice & Ambulatory Medicine
American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
P. O. Box 927
Elk Grove Village, IL 60009-0927
Dear Dr. Rappo:
As representatives of the American Cancer Society, we would like to discourage the American Academy of Pediatrics from promoting routine circumcision as preventative measure for penile or cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society does not consider routine routine circumcision to be a valid or effective measure to prevent such cancers.
Research suggesting a pattern in the circumcision status of partners of women with cervical cancer is methodologically flawed, outdated and has not been taken seriously in the medical community for decades.
Likewise, research claiming a relationship between circumcision and penile cancer is inconclusive. Penile Caner is an extremely rare condition, effecting one in 200,000 men in the United States. Penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice circumcision are lower than those found in the United States. Fatalities caused by circumcision accidents may approximate the mortality rate from penile cancer.
Portraying routine circumcision as an effective means of prevention distracts the public from the task of avoiding the behaviors proven to contribute to penile and cervical cancer: especially cigarette smoking and unprotected sexual relations with multiple partners. Perpetuating the mistaken belief that circumcision prevents cancer is inappropriate.
Hugh Shingleton, M.D.
National Vice President
Detection & Treatment
Clark W. Heath, Jr., M.D.
Epidemiology & Surveillance Research
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