Bald males could be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, found a new research. Baldness was evaluated on a four-point scale, starting with minor hair loss at the front of the scalp, up to severe hair loss on sides and top of the head.
It was found that males who underwent prostate biopsies were more prone to be diagnosed with prostate cancer if they had lost large amount of hair. Researchers believe it could be associated with higher levels of testosterone, the hormone that can stimulate the development of cancerous cells but also inhibit hair growth.
For their study, researchers from the University of Toronto conscripted more than two hundred men aged between sixty and seventy, who had been referred for a biopsy as their levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) had increase. PSA is a marker in the blood that suggests an increased risk of cancer.
The study found that the more severe a man’s balding pattern was, the more likely he was to have a tumour. The finding imitate previous study which showed men are more at risk of an additional prostate condition known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). In BPH prostate becomes enlarged usually because of the ageing process.
The first sign of BPH is usually trouble passing urine, or difficulty starting even when the bladder is full. Untreated BPH can cause kidney damage if it becomes impossible to urinate. It can also lead to bladder stones, depression and daytime tiredness because of regular broken sleep.
A higher level of testosterone was belived to be a major aspect by triggering the growth of abnormally high number of prostate cells. But in baldness, higher levels of testosterone have an adverse affect on the hair follicles, acting on a hormone receptor on the hair follicle to slow down hair production.
Men who went bald in their twenties and thirties had larger prostate volume and reduced urinary flows, which are two key signs that BPH is developing, compared to men who had not suffered hair loss. The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta, Georgia.
Lead researcher Dr Neil Fleshner, stated although the study findings should be replicated in more research, they could sound an alarm bell for men with receding hair lines. The more bald men were, the more likely they were to have prostate cancer. Bald men should be aware that they may benefit from being screened earlier and perhaps, if necessary, from being biopsied sooner.