Aside from being a beauty woe, balding is also tied to serious health implications. A recent study from the National Cancer Institute found that men with any incident of baldness are 56% more likely to develop fatal prostate cancer compared to men with no baldness.
Researchers have long suspected a link between patterned baldness and aggressive, high-risk prostate cancer, so the study is not the first of its kind. It is, however, the longest of its kind thus revealing high mortality rates and confirming the severity of the cancer associated with patterned baldness. The study is a follow-up to a 1971 baseline survey of 4,316 men between the ages of 25 and 74 with no prior cancer diagnoses.
The new information provided by this long term study, combined with discoveries from a 2015 study of 39,070 men has given more insight to the relationship between these conditions. While these studies cannot determine whether balding and prostate cancer have a causal relationship, oncologist Sumanta Kumar Pal doesn’t think there is a connection. “Although the current study cannot refute this, it’s somewhat unlikely,” he writes in his blog. “Rather, the same mechanisms that belie baldness (for instance, abnormal production of testosterone and other male hormones) may also drive the growth of prostate cancer in parallel. In fact, several genes have now been discovered that link the two processes.” Read more