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This 'Very Specific Pattern' of Balding Linked to Aggressive Cancer Risk

"Men with hair loss may need to be followed more closely."

A specific pattern of baldness seen in men by the time they're 45 years old could indicate a significant increased risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, new research says.

Analysis of data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial showed that men who were balding in front and at the crown showed a 40 percent increase in risk for developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Other patterns of baldness were not associated with this risk, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology this week.

This pattern of baldness by age 45 was linked with a higher risk for an aggressive form of prostate cancer. (Image source: American Society of Clinical Oncology) This pattern of baldness by age 45 was linked with a higher risk for an aggressive form of prostate cancer. (Image source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)

“Our study found an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer only in men with a very specific pattern of hair loss, baldness at the front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head, at the age of 45.  But we saw no increased risk for any form of prostate cancer in men with other hair-loss patterns,” Dr. Michael Cook, an investigator at the National Cancer Institute and senior author on this study, said in a statement. “While our data show a strong possibility for a link between the development of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, it’s too soon to apply these findings to patient care.”

If more research confirms a link between increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer if a certain pattern of balding is exhibited, Cook said that it could help identify possible patients earlier in life.

The study analyzed more than 39,000 men age 55 to 77 years old and asked them about the status of their balding at age 45.

“Previous research linking baldness and prostate cancer has been inconclusive, but this large study suggests a significant link between high-risk prostate cancer and hair loss — and suggests that men with hair loss may need to be followed more closely," Dr. Charles Ryan, an expert for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said in a statement.

Yet, Timothy Wilt with the University of Minnesota, who was not involved with the study, told USA Today studies associating baldness and prostate cancer have been contradictory. He even said this recent research had some inconsistencies.

The example that USA Today included from Wilt was of African-American men, who already are known to be at higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer. White men, however, are more likely to experience balding than African-American men.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer, after skin cancer, in American men. The society states that while serious, most men with prostate cancer will not die from it.

(H/T: Reddit)

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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