New research finds a link between early baldness and cancer of the male reproductive gland known as the prostate. The study involved African-American men, a group at particularly high risk of prostate cancer.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious connection between prostate cancer and baldness. But University of Pennsylvania researcher Charnita M. Zeigler-Johnson, PhD, says the two may be linked through a testosterone product called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. The hormonal chemical, Zeigler-Johnson explains, “is a form of testosterone that seems to be associated with male-pattern baldness and also connected to prostate cancer occurrence and prostate cancer progression.”
Previous studies have looked at the link between baldness and prostate cancer, but Zeigler-Johnson says this is the first to focus on African-American men, whose prostate cancer death rate is two and a half times that of white American men.
In the study, Zeigler-Johnson and her colleagues asked about 300 prostate cancer patients and some 200 non-patients about their baldness history. They then compared the type of baldness and the age when the men started losing hair with their medical histories..