What does Baldness and Prostate Cancer have in Common?


Photo courtesy of http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20140816051238.shtml

So what does baldness and prostate cancer have in common?  According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, they may actually be directly linked.

Evidence has been emerging that male pattern baldness and prostate cancer are both connected to elevated levels of male sex hormones thus creating a link between the two.  In this study, scientists analyzed data from 39, 070 men in the prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.  They found that 45 year old men who had moderate baldness on the front and crown of the head had increased chances of developing prostate cancer by 40 percent (Medicos).

Senior study author Michael B. Cook, an investigator at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD explained that, “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 (Medicos).”

So what does all of this mean?  Can we trust the data?  I believe the study is on the right track, but there is still a lot of research to be done.  In fact, a research team is currently working on two more studies to further solidify the research already completed.  However, there are still a few holes in the experiment.  There is a very large sample size of male participants, but we don’t know if they are all from the same area because if they are there may be a third confounding variable not being measured.  We also don’t know what all of their lifestyle habits are like.  There probably isn’t enough time or funding to do background research on 39,070 men though.  Reverse causation isn’t ruled out.  Does pattern baldness cause prostate cancer, or does prostate cancer cause pattern baldness?  There is also always the possibility of chance.

Overall I think this is an important study for the future of prostate cancer research, but there should be more tests conducted.

Works Cited:

“Medicos Find More Evidence of Baldness and Prostate Cancer Link.”Medicos Find More Evidence of Baldness and Prostate Cancer Link. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014. <http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20140816051238.shtml>.

Leave a Reply