Bald On Top May Be Related To Prostate Cancer Below

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM


Meg Farris / Eyewitness News

There is an important question that men who are losing their hair need to ask themselves: How old were you when it started?

The answer to that question could mean early detection of a serious illness.

Male pattern baldness is a common genetic trait that many men inherit. But a recent study finds that early hair loss may be a signal of another serious condition that has genetic ties.

“Early male pattern baldness is associated with a malfunction of the testosterone, which is the male hormone. And it’s interesting, it’s that same male hormone that is associated with prostate cancer,” said Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist at Touro.

In a French study, doctors found that if a man in his early 20s has a pronounced widow’s peak from his hair receding, he should be vigilant about screening for prostate cancer.

“It means that younger men, who are having male pattern baldness in their 20s, probably need to start getting tested for prostate cancer with a blood test called a PSA blood test earlier than normal men who don’t start (balding) until age 50,” explained Dr. Baum.

Dr. Baum also says there is another way to be proactive. He says men should talk to their doctors about getting on prescription drugs such as Avodart or Finasteride, which is called Propecia. These drugs block the enzyme that converts testosterone in the body to DHT (a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone), and too much DHT shortens the life of the hair follicle which causes male pattern baldness.

But there could be another benefit of taking one of these drugs.

“It is also that drug that can be very protective against developing prostate cancer, so there is a double reason why men should consider taking Finasteride,” said Dr. Baum.

It is important to note that other previous studies did not find a similar link of male pattern baldness in men in their early 20s and later early onset of prostate cancer, so more studies are needed for this link to be conclusive. And the study did not find a higher link between baldness in men starting in their 30s and 40s with prostate cancer. But remember there is another sign that you may be at higher risk.

“If your father had prostate cancer, brother, uncle or cousin, you have a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer,” Dr. Baum explained.

Male pattern baldness also happens in women and can be inherited from either your mother’s or father’s side of the family.



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