Prostate cancer could pose a higher risk to cyclists, according to a new study from University College London. CBS News notes that researchers found cyclists who bike more may be in harm’s way, though the increased activity tends not to affect their fertility or sexual function.
While the study isn’t definitive, and does conflict with previous research on impotence and infertility, lead author Dr. Milo Hollingworth, a research associate at University College London, acknowledged his findings are “difficult to interpret.”
“Men shouldn’t worry about increasing their risk of prostate cancer by cycling,” he stressed. “Men should cycle as much as they did before. The benefits for your heart, lungs, whole body and mental health are much more important.”
More from the report:
Previous research has suggested that bike riding for more than three hours a week boosts the risk of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, said Dr. Chris Oliver, a consultant orthopedic surgeon with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Scotland. Other studies have also linked bike riding to infertility in men.
In the new study, researchers surveyed more than 5,000 male cyclists from 2012 to 2013.
Eight percent of the men reported erectile dysfunction problems, although they weren’t more common in men who biked more. The investigators did find links between erectile dysfunction and three factors — high blood pressure, smoking and older age.
Researchers did not find any link between more cycling and more cases of infertility, as reported by one percent of men.
Concerning prostate cancer, less than one percent reported being diagnosed with it. Those who biked in excess of 8.5 hours per week, were “much more likely” to contract prostate cancer than others; still, the study doesn’t necessarily prove a connection.
Of the 498 men considered to be the most avid cyclists, 17 admitted having prostate cancer (3.5 percent). For the less active cyclists, three out of 511 (0.5 percent) had it.
Furthermore, CBS notes, these trends held up after researchers “adjusted statistics so they wouldn’t be thrown off by factors such as large or small numbers of men of certain ages.”
So should you stop cycling as a result of this study? Absolutely not, claims Oliver, noting that the study is small, “not statistically significant,” and based on anonymous responses from the Internet.
“Don’t worry about this study,” Oliver said. “Just keep riding.”
Even so, it could be a good idea to invest in a quality bike seat. Poor bike seats are often linked to infertility and erectile problems.
If you’d like to know about other risk factors for prostate cancer, The Inquisitr recently reported on the link between it and vasectomies.
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