BLACK VOICES
03/26/2013 01:12 pm ET

Prostate Cancer Risk Linked To Early-Onset Baldness In New Study

French researchers said it, and now a team from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have released new evidence to support their claim: Men who lose their hair early in life have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.

In a study of 537 African-American men -- 318 with prostate cancer and 219 controls -- investigators discovered that baldness of any kind was associated with a 69 percent increased risk of prostate cancer, particularly among African-American men.

According to the study, which was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, black men with frontal baldness, and not vertex baldness, were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. The association was even stronger among those who were diagnosed when younger than 60, with a sixfold increase in high-stage prostate cancer and a fourfold increase in high-grade prostate cancer.

The findings concur with a 2011 report showing that men who start to go bald at age 20 may be more likely to develop prostate cancer in later life. Though grim, the team conducting that study suggested that their findings be used as a basis for early screening or preventative therapy for those at higher risk.

“Early-onset baldness may be a risk factor for early-onset prostate cancer in African-American men, particularly younger men,” said Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UPenn and lead author of the study. “Pending future studies to confirm our results, there is a potential to use early-onset baldness as a clinical indicator of increased risk for prostate cancer in some populations of men,” he added.

Black men have the highest incidence rate for prostate cancer in the United States and are more than twice as likely as White men to die of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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