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Is Baldness a Prostate Cancer Risk?

There are a number of risk factors for prostate cancer that men are urged to be mindful of. A new potential marker might be a little easier than others to detect. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates there may be a link between prostate cancer and an early onset of typical male pattern baldness.

Prostate cancer is the second leading form of cancer diagnosed in American males. The American Cancer Society estimates some 220,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed each and every year. About 27,000 men die from advanced forms of prostate cancer each and every year, which means understanding risk factors can be important for men.

The latest research into the baldness-prostate cancer link involved more than 4,000 American men between the ages of 25 and 74. Medical records for these men were analyzed and assessed by a dermatologist with men placed into categories that included not balding, minimal balding, moderate balding or severe balding.

When the sorting was done and compared with prostate cancer prevalence, researchers found that men with any type of balding were 56 percent more likely to die from prostate cancer over a 21-year period than men who had no signs of hair loss. Men with moderate balding were 83 percent more likely to die from prostate cancer.

While the relationship between balding and prostate cancer mortality still leaves many mysteries, the study may very well have uncovered another risk factor for men to be mindful of. Others include age, ethnicity, family history, diet and obesity.

Men who are concerned about prostate cancer are urged to discuss the issue with their healthcare providers. There are screening procedures available that can help detect this disease in its earliest stages when treatment options are most likely to be effective. Prostate cancer screening generally is recommended for men in their later years. The average age of diagnosis is about 65.