According to a new French study, men with prostate cancer are twice as likely to show signs of male pattern baldness at the age of 20 as those without.
On the flip side, males who lose their hair, or start losing their hair in their 30s or 40s do not face any sort of increased chance of prostate cancer. Similarly, men whose hair loss actually starts in their 20s don’t face any increased odds.
"At present, there is no hard evidence to show any benefit from screening the general population for prostate cancer," study author Dr. Philippe Giraud, from the European Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, said in a news release from the European Society for Medical Oncology. "We need a way of identifying those men who are at high risk of developing the disease."
The possible connection between baldness and cancer has to do with androgens. Androgens, after all, are associated with both hair loss and prostate cancer.
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"Balding at the age of 20 may be one of these easily identifiable risk factors, and more work needs to be done now to confirm this," Giraud said.
The correlation between the two factors also appears when the topic of the drug finasteride is raised. That particular drug is utilized to block the conversion of testosterone to an androgen, which in turn would prevent the loss of hair. On top of that function, though, finasteride also has been demonstrated to lower the occurrence of prostate cancer.
Men ages 46 to 84 were used in the study that began in 2004.
The findings of this research appeared in the journal Annals of Oncology on February 15.
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