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Old 07-02-2002, 01:26 AM
Dipolarturtle Dipolarturtle is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1
Can you get cancer of the penis and clitoris ?

Regarding the question
Can you get cancer of the penis and clitoris?
you state that cleanliness reduces the incidence of cervical cancer.

I was not aware that there were any carcinogens created during sexual intercourse.....can you please elaborate ?

Edited to fix link -- CK Dexter Haven

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 07-02-2002 at 08:30 AM.
Old 07-02-2002, 08:31 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
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Location: Chicago north suburb
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Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, dipolarturtle, glad to have you with us. This question was originally a column by Cecil, so belongs in the forum called "Comments on Cecil's Columns" ... where I am moving it.
Old 07-02-2002, 10:51 PM
Tars Tarkas Tars Tarkas is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Francisco, Mars :)
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Probably toxins from fungus and bacteria that grow in the dirty uncircumsized man's area (aka cheese beneath the cap or smegma). But not having foreskin, i cannot elaborate more.
Old 07-02-2002, 11:04 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
Supposedly (the theory goes), smegma under the foreskin causes cancerous changes in cervical cells. This has not been proven--as a matter of fact, it has been disproven. So if I were a tacky person, I suppose I could now start a "Cecil is wrong!" thread.

But I won't.

Way back when, there was a theory that went, "The reason Jewish women have lower incidences of cervical cancer is because Jewish men are circumcised, and so smegma doesn't come in contact with their cervix, and so they don't get cancer." This was taken by Christian Fundamentalists to be proof of God's Divine Plan in ordering the circumcision of Jews, whose women thus didn't die early of cervical cancer, and thus lived longer to have more babies, and thus the Children of Israel, by following God's Plan, were enabled to be fruitful and multiply. Or so the theory went.

It was all part of a larger overarching theory that was contained in a book from the 1970s that my grandpa was quite fond of, and dang if I can remember the title, but the gist of it was, "Actual scientific proof of everything in the Bible", or, "See? God was right!"

But having taken the Search engine out for a quick thirty-second spin around the park, I now find that no, it's apparently not a fact that smegma causes cervical cancer, that it's now what we participants in the Fight against Ignorance refer to as a "myth".
This study, more than the others, exposed the myth that the presence of a foreskin or smegma had any association with the incidence of cancer of the cervix.
So the question, could the smegma be cancer-causing agent, arose.

It was several years before it could be shown that the theory was not scientifically correct as was first believed to be. Subsequent research showed that the incidence of cancer of the penis in circumcised but unorthodox Jews was roughly the same as the uncircumcised population.
So, Cecil sez:
Statistical evidence suggests that the sexual partners of uncircumcised males are more likely to contract cancer of the cervix than those whose partners have been circumcised.
So, HA! I never thought I'd get to say this--

Heh. Cece, trapped by a Fundie Urban Legend...

Old 07-04-2002, 09:49 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
I understand that the in-print version of the column can't be updated, but I do think Cecil ought to update the online version--that is, if he wants to continue to merit the title of "Perfect Master" in the Fight Against Ignorance...


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