Background: The role of male behavior in the genesis of cervical cancer was examined. In India, where the incidence of cervical cancer is among the highest in the world, promiscuity among women is virtually unknown. In this study, the authors investigated the role of male behavior in cervical carcinogenesis among Indian women who had one lifetime sexual partner.
Methods: A case-control study was used.
Results: Premarital sexual relationships (relative risk [RR], 1.9; confidence interval, 1.2-3.2) and extramarital sexual relationships (RR, 2.7; confidence interval, 1.5-4.9) of husbands were risk factors. When husbands had sexual relationships both before and during the marriage, their wives' risk of getting cervical cancer increased by 6.9 (CI, 2.3-20.7). Risk also increased with husbands having three or more extramarital sexual partners (RR, 3.05; CI, 1.25-12.6). Sexual contact with prostitutes before or after marriage, however, did not increase the risk. History of sexually transmitted disease before marriage (RR, 2.9) or after marriage (RR, 5.9) was an important risk factor, which persisted after controlling for other factors. Sexual abstinence for 40 or more days after a wife's giving birth or having an abortion provided protection. Sex with uncircumcised men or men circumcised after age 1 year increased the risk of cervical cancer (RR, 4.1). Bidi smoking (bidi is a cheap smoking stick of 4-8 cm, consisting of a rolled piece of dried temburni leaf [Diospyres melanoxylon] containing 0.15-0.25 g of coarsely ground tobacco) for more than 20 years was a significant risk factor (RR = 2.4), whereas cigarette smoking was not a risk factor.
Conclusions: Male sexual partners play a role in cervical carcinogenesis.