Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

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“Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are … more likely to develop prostate cancer,” the Mail Online inaccurately reports. The story comes from the publication of an online survey into cycling in the UK and its effects on health outcomes.

Researchers were particularly interested in whether frequent cycling was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancerinfertilityand erectile dysfunction (impotence).

Fears have been raised regarding the effect cycling has on these conditions. These concerns have been attributed to a wide range of factors, such as repetitive trauma.

This study found no association between the amount of time spent cycling and erectile dysfunction or infertility.

But it did find a dose-response relationship between cycling time and the risk of prostate cancer in men aged over 50, with risk increasing as the hours a week spent cycling increased.

Despite these seemingly alarming results, regular cyclists do not need to panic – this type of study cannot prove increased cycling time leads to prostate cancer; it can only prove an association.

Also, the prostate cancer analyses were only carried out on fewer than 42 men, which is only a relatively small sample of men. With such a small sample, it increases the possibility that any association is the result of chance.

Most experts would agree that the health benefits of frequent cycling outweigh the risks.

For more on the pros and cons of the sport, read our special report on cycling.

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