Male pattern baldness may indicate a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer according to a study published in the September 15, 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is characterized by a receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown. As baldness develops, hair usually becomes thinner, finer and shorter. It can create a U-shaped pattern of hair around the head. It usually runs in families. It is caused by an inability to process the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). When hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, they miniaturize, shortening their lifespan and causing them to stop producing hair.
The newest study analyzed self-reported hair loss in 39,000 men who were enrolled in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. According to the research, men who reported having male pattern baldness at the age of 45 had a 40 percent increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer when compared to those who were not balding. More than 1,100 men in the study were diagnosed with prostate cancer, with about 600 of those being aggressive prostate cancer.
Baldness was not associated with other types of cancer, including non-aggressive prostate cancer. Baldness caused by other reasons was not associated with any types of prostate cancer.
The researchers believe the connection may be the DHT, as this is linked to both male pattern baldness and prostate cancer.
According to Michael Cook, senior author of the study, this doesn’t mean that every man with male pattern baldness should be worried about developing aggressive prostate cancer because the association isn’t fully understood. While doctors may want to keep track of baldness, it is not currently a reason to recommend screening for prostate cancer.
There were also some limitations within the study, including using only the age of 45 as a reference, the absence of multicultural participants (the study mainly included white men) and that participants were relying on their memory to indicate if they experienced male pattern baldness at age 45.
Published On: September 17, 2014