A new study has found that men who have circumcisions performed after a certain age could prevent prostate cancer. According to researchers from the University of Montreal and the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, men who were circumcised after age 35 were 45 percent less at risk of later developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men.

The study looked at 2,114 men living in the Island of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. During 2005 and 2009, half of them had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers asked the individuals questions about their lifestyle, medical history, if they were circumcised, and if so, at what age the surgery was performed.  

The research also showed circumcision more beneficial for black men. Those who were circumcised were 11 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, but the size of the reduction was not that significant. “This proportion reflects what has been shown in other studies,” said research director Marie-Élise Parent, who worked in conjunction with Marie-Claude Rousseau and lead researcher Andrea Spence. However, the percentage increased to 14 percent less likely when babies were circumcised before the age of 1. The research also stated that removal of the foreskin at a young age provided protection against the most aggressive forms of cancer — Jewish and Muslim men have a rare rate of prostate cancer.

There were 178 black men in the study — 78 percent of Haitian descent. Thirty percent of the black men were circumcised compared to 40 percent of the white men. However, the white men had a 1.4 times higher rate of developing prostate cancer. Also, black men had most to gain from circumcision, with a 60 percent drop in the likelihood of developing cancer.

The debate lies in whether or not there are benefits, and many studies have shown that the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s interesting to see that circumcision rates are becoming less common in the United States, according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings. They found that found the current rate at which infants are being circumcised has fallen by six percent over the last four decades, CTV news reported.

Despite the cancer decrease, research has shown circumcision can also decrease the chances of urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted disease, and other cancers. “Infant circumcision should be regarded as equivalent to childhood vaccination and that as such it would be unethical not to routinely offer parents circumcision for their baby boy,” Brian Morris, professor emeritus in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney, said in a statement, Medical Daily reported.