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Early Signs of Balding Might be Linked to Prostate Cancer

Update Date: Mar 27, 2013 11:33 AM EDT

Early balding in men might be indicating more than bad hair genes. Researchers have previously questioned the relationship between balding in young men and their likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Due to several studies with contradicting conclusions, researchers were not able to connect the two factors confidently. However, based on a new study on African American men, who tend to have the highest rates of prostate cancer, researchers found that the relationship between early balding and prostate cancer might actually exist.

In this most recent study, the researchers decided to focus only on African American men since this group of people appears to suffer more from the disease with African American men being twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than other men. The research team took 527 participants who were already enrolled in the Study of Clinical Outcomes, Risk and Ethnicity (SCORE) from the years of 1998 to 2010. 318 of the participants were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 219 healthy men were used in the control group. Each participant was questioned regarding their hair loss by the age of 30.

The study concluded that men, who suffered from any kind of baldness, ranging from frontal to vertex baldness, had a 69 percent higher risk than men who did not have signs of baldness in developing prostate cancer. The researchers stated that men who were generally younger and had frontal hair loss were six times as likely to have advanced prostate cancer by the age of 60 than men who were of the same age and did not have any baldness. This study's findings matched those from an earlier study that found this trend in Caucasian men. However, there have also been studies that concluded no relationship between baldness and prostate cancer.

Although the researchers could not find the biological reasons behind balding and cancer, they believe that hormones play a huge factor. The researchers cited that the hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which has been linked to prostate cancer and the thinning of hair follicles, could help explain the risk factors for this cancer. In addition, the researchers noted that ethnicity might also play a huge factor, although they could not determine how. However, the researchers stated that more definitive evidence would need to be found in order to properly screen patients for this dangerous disease.

The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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