Male Pattern Baldness Is An Independent Risk Factor For Prostate Cancer

Dr. Margel and his colleagues at the University Health Network in Toronto took a look at whether men with early baldness had a higher risk of having prostate cancer. Prostate tissue growth is affected by DHT, a hormone that is also linked to male pattern baldness. Drugs such as finasteride are used to treat both baldness and prostate enlargement. With this in mind, a prospective study was well designed to answer the question.

He found that in 196 men aged 59 to 70 with a PSA of 4.1 to 8.4, prostate cancer was present in 55%. These were all men who were going to have a prostate biopsy due to elevated PSA anyway, so the observation of male pattern baldness was easy to correlate and analyze. For men with severe pattern baldness the percentage with cancer was even higher.

It is important to know that this study doesn’t say that all men with male pattern baldness have prostate cancer. It merely reports an increased risk in these men who already have elevated PSA. This is important because one of the problems of urology is deciding who to biopsy and who not to biopsy when PSA is elevated. Adding male pattern baldness into the diagnostic toolkit could help make the decision to biopsy a little easier when the PSA is a borderline value.

Now that male pattern baldness has been shown to be an independent risk factor for prostate cancer, more work will likely be done to find the best way to incorporate this into clinical practice.

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