Baldness drug may protect against prostate cancer
New research has found that medications used for male-pattern baldness could also be useful in reducing a man's risk of developing prostate cancer. According to a study from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, taking finasteride – sold as Propecia and Proscar – for a period of seven years helped to reduce, among middle aged or older men, the risk of developing cancer by one-third.
This study tracked 19,000 men – with an average age of 62 – for a period of seven years. The researchers found that finasteride primarily prevents low-grade cancers, reducing risk by 43 percent. Previous studies have indicated that the drug could raise prostate cancer mortality rates, but this research found that 83 percent of men who took finasteride and had low-grade prostate cancers survived 10 years after diagnosis, compared to 81 percent survival among men who took a placebo. For men with high-grade cancers, the 10-year survival rates were nearly identical as well.
More than 200,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.