Balded Men Prone to Prostate Cancer? Study Says So

Baldness may mean many things to one’s body and one of them is directly related to prostate cancer found in men with male pattern baldness, says a study that found an association between male pattern baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, though it did not prove the real cause and how it affects.

“It is conceivable that, in the future, male pattern baldness may play a small role in estimating risk of prostate cancer and may contribute to discussions between doctors and patients about prostate cancer screening,” said study co-author Michael Cook, expert in cancer epidemiology and genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The study, published in the September 15 issue of the “Journal of Clinical Oncology”, says male pattern baldness is two-fold, one is a pattern of hair loss that starts with the front hairline receding alongwith the top of the back of the head. The other type begins with the hair receding on the right and left sides of the forehead with hair remaining in between.

This baldness in men is a result of “a cumulative, lifelong exposure to testosterone in the skin,” writes Dr. Charles Ryan, of the University of California, San Francisco in an accompanying editorial.

The link is on the effect of testosterone or male harmone and the skin’s ability to process it. The researchers examined 40,000 men in the United States for the study between 1993 and 2001, aged between 55 and 74 years. About 18% of them said they began noticing male pattern baldness at age 45.

During the follow-up period from 2006 to 2008, the researchers found that more than 1,100 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and half of them or nearly 600 developed aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who remembered having a specific type of male pattern baldness — in the front and, moderately, around the crown of the head — were 39 percent more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men who had no baldness. But they weren’t more likely to have less aggressive types of prostate cancer, according to the study.

Since 89 percent of the men were white, the study is inconclusive about the effects on non-whites. Ryan suggests that men in their 40s with this kind of baldness should be watchful. “They might want to think of hair loss as a condition they’d want to record and follow, and consider a potential precursor to health problems. It may be an early warning sign.”

But Ryan denies any direct link and does not suggest necessary screening of all balded men for porstate cancer.

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