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Community News & Views | Myths revealed on cycling

Next month, National Cycle to Work Day, the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event, is encouraging thousands of enthusiastic riders to hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling.


Cycling has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years with great local events like the Velo South and triathlons across the county.


Cycling is a fun and effective form of exercise, but some worry that pressure from a bicycle saddle can cause urinary, sexual, prostate problems and can even increase your risk of prostate cancer.


As a keen cyclist, Simon Woodhams, Consultant Urologist joined his colleagues last year to raise over £30,000 for local urology services, taking part in their own version of the cancelled Velo South.


He explains: ‘The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test is the current gold standard for identifying prostate cancer. Although studies are mixed about the effects of cycling on the PSA test, a few have linked bicycling riding to temporary elevated PSA levels, which could lead to a false screening. If you are concerned about the possibility and have an upcoming PSA test, you may consider avoiding cycling before blood sampling. Regular bicycle riding does not cause prostate cancer, and it may even reduce your risk for developing it.


“If you have a chronic prostate problem that’s provoked by using a conventional seat, you can switch to a recumbent seat. ‘Noseless’ bicycle saddles can reduce numbness, pressure and genital discomfort in male cyclists. A traditional bike saddle puts 25 per cent to 40 per cent of your body’s weight on the nerves and blood vessels down there, but a no-nose saddle shifts that weight toward the sit bones.”


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.


National Cycle to Work Day takes place on Thursday, August 8, 2019.


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Posted in Letters.