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Are Bald Men at Greater Risk of Prostate Cancer?

Old man on benchBaldness is a common experience for many men as they get older, thanks to a condition known as Androgenic Alopecia (or more commonly, male pattern baldness). The condition is linked to elevated levels of the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) in the bloodstream, which causes hair follicles in the scalp of those who are genetically prone to the condition to deteriorate over time. Now, new research has suggested that DHT may also be responsible for triggering prostate cancer and BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia), a condition that leads to the swelling of the prostate due to aging.

‘Bald men should be aware…’

Although the precise mechanism for this process is still unclear and more testing is needed, researchers at the University of Toronto found that, in a study of 214 men, that there was a correlation between hair loss and prostate cancer risk – the more bald a man was, the more likely he was to be diagnosed with prostate cancer or BPH. Dr Neil Fleshner, who led the study, said that ‘Bald men should be aware that they may benefit from being screened earlier and perhaps, if necessary, from being biopsied sooner.’

A loose connection?

The connection between Androgenic Alopecia and prostate cancer has been made before; with certain media outlets reporting that men who experience hair loss at younger age are more likely to exhibit the disease in later life. At the time, the NHS was quick to reassure the public that the link between the two conditions was overstated in the press, and that the truth ‘remains to be determined.’ This new research certainly doesn’t prove the link once and for all, but it does add to the case being made by those who believe that baldness should be considered a risk factor – an early warning sign, indicating that frequent check-ups might be necessary.

Baldness – a possible warning sign

In the vast majority of cases, hair loss, especially in men, will be unrelated to any other health complaint. However, it is important to remember that certain medical conditions do cause hair loss, especially if it is sudden or unexpected. The elevated levels of DHT that are suspected to be the common root of male pattern baldness and (in rarer cases) prostate conditions, are just one of many  factors that can cause us to shed our hair – from stress-related conditions like Alopecia Areata, to allergic reactions and Traction Alopecia. Rather than attempting to treat hair loss yourself, therefore, it is well worth going to see a hair loss specialist, who will assess your condition and attempt to ascertain the root cause of the loss you are experiencing, before helping to combat it.

If you are experiencing hair loss, The Belgravia Centre can help. Give us a call today on 0800 077 6666, or contact us online. Alternatively, you can fill out our online diagnostic form which will enable our experts to diagnose your symptoms remotely and send you a home use treatment programme in the post.

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