Pattern Baldness: Prostate Indicator Light?
If the trashcan is tipped over AND you see the dog racing out of the kitchen, you may assume that one caused the other to happen. It’s a common way of looking at the world.
However, the dog may just be chasing a naughty four-year-old from the room… IF something happens about the same time as something else, did one cause the other? In medicine, studies ask this question all the time.
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests there’s a relationship between a specific type of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer. This study proves a relationship, but does not answer the question of cause.
As with too many cancers, we don’t know what causes prostate cancer, but we can identify risk factors (age and family history most importantly). This study newly identifies baldness as a risk factor for prostate cancer. With certain types of baldness, the risk of aggressive prostate cancer was increased by 39%. That’s a big increase!
What type of baldness was associated with this significant increase in cancer risk? So called male pattern baldness is the type associated with prostate cancer risk. This is the type of baldness you most often associate with older men – hair loss at the crown of the head in conjunction with a receding front hairline. So, should this type of hair loss send you running to the oncologist’s office? No. But knowing the risk of prostate cancer is increased should mean increased vigilance. Regular screening exams are important for those at high risk – and that’s the most important takeaway from this study.
No matter what, embrace the hair you have (or don’t) and take care of the rest of your body too. That’s how you stay on the road to your best possible health!
Image Credit: Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)
Originally published 9/19/14 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.