Newborn circumcision: an economic perspective.
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The purpose of this study was to analyse the hypothesis that prophylactic circumcision of male newborns is economically beneficial to the health care system in Canada. The minimal dollar benefits that would justify this conclusion were determined. The cost of the procedure was calculated in three Hamilton, Ont. hospitals and found to average about $38. The health benefits of circumcision are uncertain, but a review of the literature suggested that penile carcinoma is the most serious (and costly) disease potentially prevented by circumcision. Published estimates of the incidence rates, age at onset and costs incurred as a result of this disease were used in calculations of the per-case cost of prevention: $13.6 million. The authors conclude that the monetary benefits of circumcising newborns will not exceed this cost. It is proposed that the procedure be regarded as cosmetic surgery and be paid for by parents who wish the procedure carried out rather than by taxpayer-funded health insurance plans.
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