A new study in the US has added weight to the notion that men with Male Pattern Baldness
have a higher-than-average risk of dying from prostate cancer.
The findings show correlation between genetic hair loss
and the UK’s most common cancer in men, and suggest that in the future, evidence of Male Pattern Baldness may play a small role in assessing the risk of someone getting prostate cancer.
Cancer and baldness
The study was undertaken by a team being led by Dr Michael Cook, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda in Maryland. Reporting on their findings, Renal & Urology News explained how the team had sought to find a link between prostate cancer and baldness by looking at the deaths of 3,284 men (from a larger test group of 4,316 men) who had died since they were first assessed for overall health between 1971 and 1974.
The journal reported that 107 of the deaths were due to prostate cancer. The numbers also showed that of those deaths to prostate cancer, many of the men also had male pattern baldness. According to Renal & Urology News: “Compared with no balding, having any degree of baldness was associated with a 56% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, after adjusting for potential confounders such as age, race, and body mass index.
They further state that "moderate
" balding, which they defined as "observable baldness by a dermatologist at baseline
", was associated with an 83% increased risk.
While these figures sound alarming, it doesn’t by any means suggest that Male Pattern Baldness leads to prostate cancer if that were the case then the lion’s share of all male deaths would be due to prostate cancer as so many men have Male Pattern Baldness. The study actually observed that men with any balding have just a two per cent higher than average risk of fatal prostate cancer.
Dr Cook is quoted in the article as saying: “Men with any degree of baldness should not be additionally concerned about their individual risk of developing, or dying from, prostate cancer
In fact, the authors note that there are so many men
with Male Pattern Baldness that MPB would not currently be useful in prostate cancer screening decisions.
Hair loss drug
Ironically, a clinically-proven male hair loss treatment
has been proven to protect against prostate cancer in studies.
The clinically-proven daily pill finasteride 1mg
was in fact discovered to treat hair loss due to finasteride's primary use - when prescribed in far higher 5mg doses - as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate.
Dr Ian Thompson of the Department of Urology at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio said at the time of two significant studies into Finasteride and cancer treatment: “We’ve now shown that the cancers prevented by finasteride are often clinically significant, the same kind of cancers that lead to surgery
In addition, he added, "we showed a 28 percent reduction of high-grade cancer with finasteride