Could your receding hairline be a sign of cancer?
Just when you thought dealing with the possibility of losing your hair as you get older was enough, new research suggests that a receding hairline in certain men could be much more than just a sign of aging.
So Who’s At Risk?
According to a study published in the March 26 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, baldness could point to a higher risk of prostate cancer in African-American men.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine compared data taken from 219 men with prostate cancer to 318 men who didn’t have the disease. Looking specifically at the age baldness began in each participant as well as other risk factors that contribute to prostate cancer, such as family history, alcohol consumption and smoking; they found that frontal baldness was associated with higher odds of developing high-stage, high-grade tumors among black males diagnosed with prostate cancer younger than age 60.
In a statement, authors of the study wrote: Though the exact reason is still unknown, “we observed significant associations between early-onset baldness and prostate cancer in African-American men.”
Dr. Tony Hampton, a primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group, says the findings could mean that black men with unique, higher risk factors like these should consider earlier screenings, but he feels more research is needed to be sure.
“I believe further studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms relating baldness to prostate cancer and until those studies are done, decisions about how to test should be performed on an individual basis—looking at all of the risk factors involved.”
But authors of the study say they hope the new predictive factors will eventually help curb the disparity among African American men, who are twice as likely to die from the disease compared to men of other races, according to the National Cancer Institute.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.