I'm going to reprint the article with my comments in bold italics. Enjoy.
Medicine: Circumcision & Cancer
TIME: April 5, 1954
"The fact that 85% of the boy babies born in U.S. private hospitals nowadays are circumcised, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs, may be an important factor in reducing cancer of the uterine cervix (neck of the womb) in years to come. Dr. Ernest L. Wynder. of Manhattan's Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases, has reached this comforting conclusion after studying the striking differences in the incidence of cervical cancer among women with different marital histories."
So by 1954, 85% of American boys were clean cut. That number probably grew to 95% ten years later. America had become, even 55 years ago, a circumcised nation. And reinforcing a mother's view that her son should be clean-cut is this report that a male's circumcision reduces cervical cancer in a woman.
"It all began with the oft-quoted observation that among Jewish women whose husbands have been routinely, ritually circumcised, cervical cancer is only one-tenth to one-fifth as common as among non-Jewish women of similar age and social status. Was this coincidence or what? To find out, Dr. Wynder arranged exhaustive interviews of 1,900 women in twelve U.S. hospitals scattered over four states; one-third of them had cervical cancer, while the rest (the controls) had other diseases of the pelvis."
"The answers ruled out the possibility of coincidence. They also ruled out pregnancy and number of pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages and douches as possible causes of this type of cancer (which, in frequency, is second only to breast cancer among U.S. women, and takes an estimated 14,000 lives a year, despite thousands of operations for removal).
Looks like Dr. Wynder knew what he was doing here, using lots of women (1,900) in four states. I suspect the anti-circ fanatics (and, fortunately, there were not any at the time) would have found something to complain about.
"Dr. Wynder's key findings:
¶ A woman whose husband is uncircumcised runs 2½ times as great a risk of cervical cancer as a woman, married only once, whose husband has been circumcised.
¶ A woman married only once, but beginning intercourse at 16, is twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as a woman married between 20 and 24. The likelihood keeps going down as the marriage age goes up.
¶ A woman who has two or more marital partners runs a proportionately greater risk of cervical cancer than those married once.
Note that circumcision is not the only factor Dr. Wynder found in the reduced rate of cervical cancer in women. Multiple husbands and early intercourse can increase the rates. But a woman whose husband has a foreskin is 2-1/2 times more likely to get cervical cancer than the woman with a clean-cut circumcised husband. Given that women so often call the shots about whether their son is circumcised, this kind of medical evidence must have been very persuasive indeed.
"That marriage and sexual relations are not the only elements in cervical cancer was shown by the fact that 1% of the victims had never had intercourse. To test his U.S. findings, Dr. Wynder enlisted the help of physicians in India and found direct confirmation: cervical cancer is far commoner among the wives of uncircumcised Hindus than among those of circumcised Moslems, though their hygienic standards are about the same. "
Again, even though cleanliness was the same among both, the wives of uncircumcised Hindus were at greater risk for cancer than circumcised Muslims. No surprise there. In fact, it matches the earlier observation about lower cervical cancer rates among Jewish women.
"Among men, penile cancer is far rarer than cervical cancer among women, but its occurrence follows the same pattern. Dr. Wynder's deduction: circumcision may be a big help in preventing both, presumably because it facilitates personal cleanliness."
When Time Magazine calls circumcision "a big help" back in 1954, you know that American parents were listening. Today, with so much more medical evidence in support of newborn circumcision because it reduces the risk of STDs, HIV, HPV, cancer, and the like, you have to wonder why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics are being so slow to embrace what their parents and grandparents embraced 55 years ago. Except for a few fanatics with loud voices, the vast majority of American parents want to keep America a clean circumcised nation. We knew it in 1954 -- and we know it in 2009!