3,000 Malawian men cut off their foreskins: Less cervical cancer, reduces Aids risks

Malawian cancer expert at the country’s sole certified oncology unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QUECH) has asked authorities to consider exploring possibilities of using medical male circumcision as a measure of reducing cases of cervical cancer in women.

The country’s lone oncologist, Dr Leo Masamba told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that though no research has been conducted locally, there are theoretical linkages between the HIV virus and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is one of the major causes of cervical cancer in women.

Dr Masamba’s sentiments come at a time when more men are willingly to go for certified medial male circumcision since its endorsement by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a means of reducing HIV infection in 2007.

“WHO proved out that male circumcision is one of the effective ways of preventing HIV transmission with the foreskin of a manhood being the agent and HPV is also transmitted in the same way.

Male circumcision in hospital

“Since cervical cancer is largely associated with HIV as sexually active women and men can take the HPV if they have sex with someone else who has this cancer, there is a high probability that if HIV can be reduced by male circumcision then the same applies to cervical cancer,” said Dr Masamba.

He said HIV and cervical cancer are similar in that they are sexually transmitted infections.

Despite being largely associated with women, the Human Papilloma virus is also a leading cause of cancer that affects the manhood in men.

A two year research conducted in Uganda where circumcision of male adults is increasingly encouraged as a means of reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS which involved more than 1,200 HIV negative, heterosexual couples concluded that female partners of men who were uncircumcised were more likely than the partners of the circumcised men to be infected with HPV.

Half the men received the surgical procedure upon joining the study and the other half were scheduled for circumcision after their participation in the trial ended, according to the study whose results can be found on www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer.

According to Banja La Mtsogolo (BML), one of the country’s leading family planning medical institutions, at least 3,000 men in the country have so far gone under the knife since debate on whether or not it reduces the risk of contracting HIV came to light in 2008.

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