A new study found links between male pattern baldness to higher risks of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) reveals that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. Thousands of men across the globe and in the U.S. are treated with prostate cancer each year. Around 30,000 men also die due to prostate cancer in the U.S.
The researchers of the study analyzed baldness patterns in around 39,000 men, who enrolled themselves in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. The research found that men with pattern baldness, which is moderate loss of hair at the crown of the head and at the front, at 45 years, had around 40 percent higher risks of developing aggressive or fast growing prostate cancer. The researchers were unable to link prostate cancer to any other type of baldness pattern.
"Our study found an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer only in men with a very specific pattern of hair loss, baldness at the front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head, at the age of 45," says Michael B. Cook, senior author of the study and an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
The men, who were aged between 55 and 74 years, were asked to complete a survey that queried their baldness pattern at the age of 45 years. The study found that over 1,100 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than half had fast growing prostate cancer. The median age for diagnosis of the cancer was 72 years.
Cook adds that even though the findings of the study shows strong links between the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer and pattern baldness, it is too early to apply them for the purpose of patient care.
The researchers explain that the male sex hormone called androgen, which is primarily found in the testicles, is responsible for both hair loss and prostate cancer. Androgens are believed to be responsible for the growth of prostate cancer. The researchers also suggest that increased level of the sex hormones can also affect the hair follicles and result in hair loss and hair thinning.
Cook indicates that further study is required to confirm the results of the latest research. If findings of the study are reaffirmed, then healthcare professionals may be able to identify men with higher risks of prostate cancer by analyzing their hair loss pattern.