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Old 12-03-09, 01:43 AM   #1
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Lycra and Testicular Cancer

So, my doctor retired and I got a new one but I'm not sure I'm going to keep her. When she found out I bicycle a lot she warned me not to wear lycra shorts because they would overheat my testicles putting me at risk for testicular cancer. She mentioned Lance Armstrong. So, is she completely off the wall on this or is there any evidence at all to suggest that lycra bicycling shorts increase the risk for testicular cancer. Obviously Lance Armstrong by himself is not evidence.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:10 AM   #2
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Is not lycra a heat and moisture wicking material.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:11 AM   #3
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So, my doctor retired and I got a new one but I'm not sure I'm going to keep her. When she found out I bicycle a lot she warned me not to wear lycra shorts because they would overheat my testicles putting me at risk for testicular cancer. She mentioned Lance Armstrong. So, is she completely off the wall on this or is there any evidence at all to suggest that lycra bicycling shorts increase the risk for testicular cancer. Obviously Lance Armstrong by himself is not evidence.
I've read that somewhere as well. The problem with cancer is that there is no single cause for it. It could be the reduction of bloodflow from the saddle, poor diet, environment, keeping them couped up for too long on rides, tighty whiteys that are too tight, taking too many shots to the junk, attaching electrodes for pleasure, etc. So pretty much the entire cyclist lifestyle causes cancer. On the other hand the health benefits somewhat offset this. No matter what its a crapshoot and I'd take my chances with the lycra. What are the alternatives? Cotton? Wool? Leather?
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Old 12-03-09, 02:19 AM   #4
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I'd hope my ergonomic saddle would mitigate the effects of the saddle. W/o lycra would not the friction of the saddle be more intense.. I had thought that was the benefit of lycra.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:53 AM   #5
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The doctor is a quack.
Find another.
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Old 12-03-09, 07:46 AM   #6
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I would find another. If I remember correctly, Lance's book said that he had more than just Testicular cancer. There is not enough understanding about how cancer starts and where it attacks each body. Ask your current doctor if she has proof that Lance's cancer was started because of his riding a bicycle and wearing Lycra.
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Old 12-03-09, 08:40 AM   #7
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I would find another. If I remember correctly, Lance's book said that he had more than just Testicular cancer. There is not enough understanding about how cancer starts and where it attacks each body. Ask your current doctor if she has proof that Lance's cancer was started because of his riding a bicycle and wearing Lycra.
Technically, he had testicular cancer that had metastisized to his lungs and brain.
Regardless, OP, find a new doc. Even if just to get another opinion on that matter alone.
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Old 12-03-09, 08:52 AM   #8
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So, my doctor retired and I got a new one but I'm not sure I'm going to keep her.
HER??? Guys don't have female doctors!! Get a male doctor. Preferably a cycling doctor. My primary care doc is a cyclist, my cardiologist is a cyclist, and my sports med doc is a cyclist. All encourage me to ride to keep the weight off and stay healthy.
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Old 12-03-09, 08:56 AM   #9
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I have a female Dr.
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Old 12-03-09, 09:02 AM   #10
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Unless you're on the bike for 8-9 hours a day every day - like say, a bike courier - I shouldn't think it would be a large enough chunk of your life to have an effect.
Disposable diapers on baby boys have (possibly) been linked to testicular cancer years later, but it's not conclusive.
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Old 12-03-09, 09:28 AM   #11
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HER??? Guys don't have female doctors!! Get a male doctor. Preferably a cycling doctor. My primary care doc is a cyclist, my cardiologist is a cyclist, and my sports med doc is a cyclist. All encourage me to ride to keep the weight off and stay healthy.
Both of my dr's are female.
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Old 12-03-09, 11:59 AM   #12
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I don't think so on the testicular cancer.

There are two major environmental causes for cancer. The first is exposure to ionizing radiation. So do not put radiactive material into your bike shorts. The second one is exposure to chemicals, also called carcinogens, that produce free radicals. Tobacco smoke is loaded with carcinogens which is why smoking is not a good long term health decision. Well, there is another major cancer risk. That is having the wrong genes. It is thought that some people have a genetic predisposition to cancer.

The thing that ionizing radiation and free radical production have in common is that both produce mutations in one's DNA during cell replication. If the wrong gene gets mutated, that can cause the affected cell to become a cancer cell.

Notice that environmental effects like wearing hot, sweaty shorts are not one of the above. Now the accepted way to determine a cancer risk is to expose laboratory rates to the suspected problem but I have never heard of anyone putting hot, sweaty underwear on lab rats. Maybe there is a grant there.
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Old 12-03-09, 12:12 PM   #13
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I don't think so on the testicular cancer.

There are two major environmental causes for cancer. The first is exposure to ionizing radiation. So do not put radiactive material into your bike shorts. The second one is exposure to chemicals, also called carcinogens, that produce free radicals. Tobacco smoke is loaded with carcinogens which is why smoking is not a good long term health decision. Well, there is another major cancer risk. That is having the wrong genes. It is thought that some people have a genetic predisposition to cancer.

The thing that ionizing radiation and free radical production have in common is that both produce mutations in one's DNA during cell replication. If the wrong gene gets mutated, that can cause the affected cell to become a cancer cell.

Notice that environmental effects like wearing hot, sweaty shorts are not one of the above. Now the accepted way to determine a cancer risk is to expose laboratory rates to the suspected problem but I have never heard of anyone putting hot, sweaty underwear on lab rats. Maybe there is a grant there.
devil's advocate (cause I've spent too much time in P&R )....does temperature effect the rate of cellular reproduction? does it effect the error rate of DNA reproduction? Does it have any impact on transcription of the proteins used to help verify valid DNA reproduction?
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Old 12-03-09, 01:16 PM   #14
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I don't think so on the testicular cancer.

Now the accepted way to determine a cancer risk is to expose laboratory rates to the suspected problem but I have never heard of anyone putting hot, sweaty underwear on lab rats. Maybe there is a grant there.
But how many of the white lab rats already have genes with cancer and we are getting crappy results anyway. :-)
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Old 12-03-09, 01:51 PM   #15
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But how many of the white lab rats already have genes with cancer and we are getting crappy results anyway. :-)
None. That's why they use them.
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Old 12-03-09, 01:52 PM   #16
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I read this anecdote of a journalist who went to a cancer foundation awards ceremony but I don't remember it word for word so here goes. The journalist asked a doctor there why haven't we been able to cure cancer after raising millions of dollars for research. The doctor attending went on to say that there are hundreds of different types of cancers and possibly hundreds of different causes for each one all at varying levels. Even if they were to find a cure for one type of cancer it may not be able to help with another type of cancer.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:09 PM   #17
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devil's advocate (cause I've spent too much time in P&R )....does temperature effect the rate of cellular reproduction? does it effect the error rate of DNA reproduction? Does it have any impact on transcription of the proteins used to help verify valid DNA reproduction?
OK, you are not familiar with the point of descended testes. Have you ever wondered why human males (and other mammalian males) have the testes hanging in the scrotum? That is a pretty vulnerable position, if you think about it. The reason for it is to have the testes at a slightly lower temperature than the human body. Sperm produced at normal body temperature have compromised motility. Sperm produced at lower temperatures have more "zip" so to say. The thing about lower temperatures is they would produce less in the way of metabolic rate which could lower the cancer rate somewhat just because they would divide less often. But normal human tissues seem to do fine.

Your talk about protein "transcription" seems to be off.

When a cell divides, it needs to double its DNA and give a complete set of DNA (2 copies to each cell) to each cell. This copying of DNA is called replication. For the cell to produce a protein, first part of the DNA is transcribed to mRNA. A short segment of the DNA is produced that will code for the particular protein. The mRNA goes out of the nucleaus and pairs with a ribosome and by a process called translation produces the string of requisite amino acids to form the protein. Duplication of DNA is replication. DNA producing mRNA or other RNAs is transcription. And mRNA producing proteins is translation. These are all different processes. To understand cancer, you need to understand some of the basic biochemistry in the cell.
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Old 12-03-09, 02:22 PM   #18
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OK, you are not familiar with the point of descended testes. Have you ever wondered why human males (and other mammalian males) have the testes hanging in the scrotum? That is a pretty vulnerable position, if you think about it. The reason for it is to have the testes at a slightly lower temperature than the human body. Sperm produced at normal body temperature have compromised motility. Sperm produced at lower temperatures have more "zip" so to say. The thing about lower temperatures is they would produce less in the way of metabolic rate which could lower the cancer rate somewhat just because they would divide less often. But normal human tissues seem to do fine.

Your talk about protein "transcription" seems to be off.

When a cell divides, it needs to double its DNA and give a complete set of DNA (2 copies to each cell) to each cell. This copying of DNA is called replication. For the cell to produce a protein, first part of the DNA is transcribed to mRNA. A short segment of the DNA is produced that will code for the particular protein. The mRNA goes out of the nucleaus and pairs with a ribosome and by a process called translation produces the string of requisite amino acids to form the protein. Duplication of DNA is replication. DNA producing mRNA or other RNAs is transcription. And mRNA producing proteins is translation. These are all different processes. To understand cancer, you need to understand some of the basic biochemistry in the cell.
I am quite familiar with why they are descended....but when wearing cycling shorts, there's just not a lot of room for them to hang far enough away.

http://www.contexo.info/DNA_Basics/D...eplication.htm
"DNA polymerase makes very few errors, and most of those that are made are quickly corrected by DNA polymerase and other enzymes that "proofread" the nucleotides added into the new DNA strand. If a newly added nucleotide is not complementary to the one on the template strand, these enzymes remove the nucleotide and replace it with the correct one. With this system, a cell's DNA is copied with less than one mistake in a billion nucleotides. This is equal to a person copying 100 large (1000 page) dictionaries word for word, and symbol for symbol, with only one error for the whole process"

Errors do occur....not that often, but do occur. And since replication is a chemical process, and most chemical processes speed up with added energy (increased temps), it is possible for higher temps to have some effect. My question was, how much of an effect?
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Old 12-03-09, 04:45 PM   #19
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I have never heard any statistical evidence for cyclists having testicular cancer more often. Decreased sperm motility, yes.
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Old 12-03-09, 04:55 PM   #20
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I'm freezing my balls off this time of year. I assure you, nothing is overheating. But I don't see "the cyclist lifestyle" as promoting cancer, as one poster stated.
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Old 12-03-09, 05:30 PM   #21
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Elevated intrascrotal temperature and the incidence of testicular cancer in noncryptorchid men.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...m&ordinalpos=2
No association was found between testicular cancer and having worn tight-fitting underwear (jockey shorts) or having worn heat-resistant clothing on the job. A 50% increase in risk was observed for men who typically wore long underwear for more than three months out of the year, but this association was within the limits of chance given no true association....Taken in aggregate, these results provide little or no support for the hypothesis that intermittent intrascrotal temperature elevation, to the degree encountered by US men today, plays a role in the etiology of germ cell testicular cancer. The possibility that risk increases after a continuous temperature increase, such as might result from a varicocele, needs to be evaluated further.

Keep riding.
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Old 12-03-09, 06:10 PM   #22
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Elevated intrascrotal temperature and the incidence of testicular cancer in noncryptorchid men.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...m&ordinalpos=2
No association was found between testicular cancer and having worn tight-fitting underwear (jockey shorts) or having worn heat-resistant clothing on the job. A 50% increase in risk was observed for men who typically wore long underwear for more than three months out of the year, but this association was within the limits of chance given no true association....Taken in aggregate, these results provide little or no support for the hypothesis that intermittent intrascrotal temperature elevation, to the degree encountered by US men today, plays a role in the etiology of germ cell testicular cancer. The possibility that risk increases after a continuous temperature increase, such as might result from a varicocele, needs to be evaluated further.

Keep riding.
Bedding cute, willing chicks also increases testicular temperature. And no one is arguing that causes cancer!
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Old 12-03-09, 06:11 PM   #23
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I didn't mean to say that the cyclist lifestyle does cause cancer but meant to say that according to what some of those theories claim is that the habits and trends of cyclists can lead to it. I don't buy it. Like i said its a crapshoot.
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Old 12-03-09, 07:47 PM   #24
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Elevated intrascrotal temperature and the incidence of testicular cancer in noncryptorchid men.
Thanks for the citation! I couldn't get the electronic version of the article because we don't subscribe to the Oxford archive but we do have the print version which I'll try to take a look at. I'm always reluctant to go just on the abstract but like to look at the data (can't help it, my Ph.D. is in statistics ). Anyway, I'll share this with my doctor and see what she has to say.
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Old 12-04-09, 01:14 AM   #25
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Find another doctor. You don't want a physician who bases their medical advice on urban legends.
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