Studies, though inconclusive and in part anecdotal, are suggesting that there is a link between male pattern baldness and an aggressive form of prostate cancer. It does not connect baldness to less aggressive forms of the disease.
Male pattern baldness occurs when the front of the hairline recedes as well as thinning on the crown. It can also be when the sides of the hair recede, leaving a small crop of hair in the middle. One study concluded that it is possible that men with male pattern baldness may be at an increased risk of prostate cancer and therefore are advised to get early prostate screenings.
Testosterone plays a role in male pattern baldness and also in the development of prostate cancer. The skin’s ability to process testosterone is what causes the baldness, but high levels of the hormone itself may be the main factor in aggressive types of prostate cancer.
While the debate over the connection between male pattern baldness and prostate cancer is ongoing, studies are being done to determine if there if the apparent correlation is cause for serious concern. One study showed that out of 40,000 men between the ages of 55 and 74, interviewed between 1993 and 2001, 18% stated that they were showing signs of male pattern baldness at age 45. When the follow up study was done during 2006 – 2008, out of that 18%, 1100 men developed prostate cancer and 600 developed an aggressive form of the disease.
Although the jury is still out, many doctors are insisting that their patients with male pattern baldness over the age of 45 get regular prostate screenings. It is always better to err on the side of caution, it is believed in the medical community, than wait for the scientific studies to catch up with anecdotal evidence.