Study shows prostate cancer risk rises in male cyclists over 50

BY Nora Daly  July 8, 2014 at 11:12 AM EST
2012 Olympics Men's Road Race passing through Oxshott, Surrey.  Photo by Flickr user RS Deakin.

2012 Olympics Men’s Road Race passing through Oxshott, Surrey. Photo by Flickr user RS Deakin.

A recent study, published online by the Journal of Men’s Health, indicates an increased risk for prostate cancer in male cyclists over the age of 50.

Milo Hollingworth, Alice Harper and Mark Hamer, researchers from the medical school and the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London sought to study the effects of cycling on erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, and prostate health in their ‘Cycling for Health UK Study.’ Surveying more than 5,000 participants from a range of cycling backgrounds, they analyzed the data for a possible correlation between the number of weekly hours spent cycling and an increased risk for erectile dysfunction, ED, infertility or prostate cancer.

While previous research has suggested a link between cycling and ED, there was no relationship found between cycling volume and ED or infertility. There was, however, a positive correlation between increased cycling time and risk for prostate cancer in men over 50 (study participants under the age of 50 were excluded from this analysis, as they account for less than one percent of diagnoses). The risk was especially high for those cycling more than 8.5 hours a week.

The data for the study was collected via an anonymous online survey, and the researchers cited their use of self-reporting as a weakness that could lead to potential inaccuracy. While the results of the study were not definitive, the findings were strong enough to support further research.