Effect of Circumcision on Cancer Reported at International Medical Conference

A study in the relationship between circumcision and cancers of the genital tract which sheds new light on cancer transmission was presented here to the International Cancer Conference in Paris by Dr. Abraham Ravich of New York City.

Dr. Ravich, chief of the Institute of Applied Biology in New York, was led to his study by the marked contrast in cancer incidence between his private practice in Brooklyn, N.Y., where his patients were predominantly Jewish, and statistics on cancer in the general population.

Cancer of the prostate while very noticeable among non-circumcised males was almost never seen among Jews, who are circumcised shortly after birth. Cancer of the cervix of the womb, the largest cancer killer of women in the general population, was comparatively rare among Jewish women.

A study conducted by Dr. Ravich and his associates over a period of years resulted in the following figures: While 2.5 percent of all types of male cancer are cancer of the penis, only one Jewish case of this type of cancer was ever recorded — and that Jew had not been circumcised. Twenty percent of all male Gentiles suffering from cancer had cancer of the prostate glard — but only 1.7 percent of Jews with prostatic disease had cancer of the prostate.

A study of cancer in females in various communities showed that the rate of cancer of the cervix, an affliction which kills 12,000 American women every year, was five to 18 times as high among non-Jewish women. Cancer of the cervix, while not as common as cancer of the breast is the largest single killer of the cancer types. Twelve thousand American males die of prostate cancer each year. Together cancer of the prostate and of the cervix account for one-eighth of all U.S. cancer death.

Dr. Ravich’s paper was presented in Paris by his son, Dr. Robert Ravich of New York, at one of the opening sessions of the International Cancer Congress. Discussion of the paper, which is normally limited to 20 minutes, ran for 45 minutes as various other delegates added striking corroborative evidence.

It was pointed out that in the Fiji Islands where two sharply-defined social groups live — one circumcised, the other uncircumcised — women of the uncircumcised group have an incidence of cancer of the cervix nine times as great as that of women of the circumcised groups. An Indonesian doctor reported similar statistics from his country.

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