Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD
Prostate cancer starts in your prostate gland, a walnut-sized structure that is part of the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages but is rarely found in men younger than 40 years old. Regular bicycle riding does not cause prostate cancer, and it may even reduce your risk for developing it.
Screening for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is used to detect prostate cancer. Dr. H. Ballentine Carter, urologist at Johns Hopkins School of medicine, reports that long-distance cyclists do not have prostate trauma that can cause PSA levels to increase. Dr. Martin Resnick, MD, also reports that a common misconception is that Lance Armstrong, a 7-time Tour de France winner, had prostate cancer caused by cycling. Dr. Resnick states that this is not true, and that Armstrong had testicular cancer, another type of cancer not related to cycling.
A lack of exercise and eating a high-fat diet are two risk factors for developing prostate cancer that you can control. Other risk factors include your age, race, genetics and family history. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, prostate cancer is most common in men older than age 55 and that African-Americans have a greater risk of developing it than Caucasians. Also, having a brother with prostate cancer can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer by 4.5 times.
Men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise, reports MayoClinic.com. Exercising on most days of the week can help you lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Bicycle riding is an excellent form of exercise and will not increase your risk of prostate cancer. Other ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer are staying at a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.
Two tests are used for early detection of prostate cancer. One is a digital rectal exam and the other is a PSA test. The digital rectal exam is done by your doctor feeling for abnormal bumps on your prostate gland. The PSA test measures your levels of PSA and elevated levels may indicate the need for further tests. Based on your prostate screening, your doctor will discuss further tests, such as a biopsy or ultrasound, if they are necessary.
The American Cancer Society recommends talking with your doctor about the pros and cons of being screened for prostate cancer. If you are at a high-risk for developing prostate cancer you should start talking with your doctor about your options beginning at age 40. To get the benefits associated with exercise, including lowering your risk for prostate and other types of cancer, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on four or more days each week.