BIKE RIDING INCREASES THE RISK OF PROSTATE AND TESTICULAR CANCER

 

CYCLING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF PROSTATE AND TESTICULAR CANCER

You decided to take up cycling or mountain biking to improve your fitness but it turns out that it could give you Prostate and Testicular Cancer – Marvellous !!! Yes, according to some studies, avid peddlers indeed can face the increased risk of these two conditions.

Although testis and prostate cancer are diseases that are caused by totally different generic mechanisms, they can have a common environmental culprit. Increased pressure on the cell cycle might create irregularities in gene duplication and result in the mutation that causes cancer.

Researches suggesting the risk of developing testicular cancer with frequent cycling, and two well-known cases of Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso linked to this condition, make many bike addicts scared thinking about the possible connection between the sports and the disease.

Also, a British study of 5,200 cyclists which is the biggest research project ever conducted on the impact of cycling on the health, suggests that those in their 50s who pedal for more than nine hours a week may be up to five times as likely to receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
 


 

INCONCLUSIVE STUDIES

It is unclear if these are the pressure and inflammation, or chemicals in the seat that causes the association. What about smoking, nutrition, genetics, lycra ? Cancer-causing chemicals were also found in clothes. There are many other contributive factors that have never been taken into consideration during these studies. It may well be that men who bike often are more health aware and likely to catch cancers early.

According to Dr. Thomas Schwaab, an associate professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, the main common denominator in testicular cancer is the age. Testicular cancer usually affects men between ages 20 and 39. Basso was 37 and Armstrong was 25 when they were diagnosed.

He also noted that a bicyclist’s weight rests on the perineum (the area between the genitals and the anus), rather than the testes.

Furthermore, it’s not hard to imagine that a proper trial to prove all these findings would be extremely difficult to design and execute. How much cycling? How many cancers in the cycling group versus the non-cycling group ? If you rode a tricycle when you were 4 years old, were you in the cycling group or not ? Was every rider’s saddle set up properly ? Not to mention other factors that I wrote about in the beginning of this heading.

 


 

Conclusion

I take the whole cycling cancer case with a big grain of salt. Many studies are inconclusive and very often can be disproved by another research.

The same team of scientists at University College London that suggests the connection between cycling and prostate cancer also found that the previous studies linking between cycling and infertility or erectile problems are just an age-old health myth. Even though shape and size of some bike seats exerting large amounts of pressure on the perineum can cause health problems, they are not the culprit here anymore. In this case, modern saddle design eliminates the problem.

Also, we are talking about very keen cyclists who spend more than nine hours a week on their bikes – that’s probably more than average commuting to work or weekend trail riding.

If you are a mountain biker you probably thinking it’s even worse because of the rough terrain you are riding and you worry about connection. But even if you are full-time XC rider, you spend significantly less time sitting on the saddle when compared to cyclists.

Saying all these, do take it with a grain of salt. Do not completely disregard all the findings because it suits your passion. Look after your Ballocks. Especially when you take on these crazy drops :)

 


 
References

Mountain biking scrotum damage & benign tumours.

Mountain biking linked to scrotal and testicular disorders.

Mountain biking connected to infertility

The effect of bicycle riding on serum prostate-specific antigen levels.

Why Cancer and Inflammation?

Sports activities and risk of testicular cancer.

Long Distance Bicycle Riding Causes Prostate-Specific Antigen to Increase in Men Aged 50 Years and Over.

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