Bike Riding and Prostate Cancer

There has been much controversy as to whether or not cycling has an effect on PSA or the emergence of prostate cancer.  Although there have been many contradictory studies, overall it seems that riding your bike does not increase your risk for prostate cancer.  Some people cite Lance Armstrong, a 7-time Tour de France winner, had prostate cancer caused by cycling. But these aren’t the facts.  Armstrong had testicular cancer, which was not caused cycling.  But the information can be confusing especially to the public, and especially with so many different studies floating around.


The truth is that regular bicycle riding does not cause prostate cancer.  This activity could even reduce your risk for developing the cancer.  Previous studies have not proven a cause and effect relationship between biking and prostate cancer.  So those cyclists who have been seen to have prostate cancer may just be by chance or have developed it as a result of other risk factors.  As obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and a high fat diet are much greater risk factors for developing prostate cancer, keeping up with exercise and biking will probably do you more good than harm. 

In one large 2012-2013 study of 5,000 male cyclists, just under 1% of the men overall reported being diagnosed with prostate. Those who clocked the most time on the bike, more than 8.5 hours a week, were more likely to have prostate cancer than the other men in this study, but researchers could not prove a connection between the two.  The one caution is increasing inflammation to the prostate, as chronic inflammation is known to have adverse effects on prostate health.  So cyclists should always make sure to be comfortable and avoid trauma to the prostate from riding.

Overall, men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise according to the Mayo Clinic.  Riding your bike is a great form of exercise and can help you maintain a healthy weight.  This along with a diet comprised of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

As far as PSA screening goes, reports from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, say that long-distance cyclists do not have prostate trauma that can cause PSA levels to increase. This seems to be a common misconception in the medical community.  Getting a better bike seat however might be worth the money.  Bike seats have been linked to infertility and erectile dysfunction caused by bike riding.  

If you believe cycling may be having an adverse effect on you prostate health, or you are experiencing any symptoms, don’t ignore them.  Talking to your doctor about your risks for prostate cancer and the benefit of screening is always a good idea. Screening should begin at the age of 40, especially if you have family history of the disease.