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“Prostate Cancer: Is it Linked to Male Pattern Baldness?”

As Americans, we are driven by shocking headlines. So, I will try to head off any panic over the new one which states, “Male Pattern Baldness Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer.”  A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial on 39,000 men has found that  men with a certain type of baldness may be at a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.  The increased risk was observed in men who had moderate baldness that affected both the front and the crown of their head by age 45 years, as compared with men with no baldness.  But, this was not statistically significant and thus, proved nothing other than an association.  When investigators split the prostate cancer cases into aggressive and nonaggressive, aggressive prostate cancer risk was increased by 40% while there was no altered risk of nonaggressive prostate cancer. So, male pattern baldness may play a small role in estimating risk of prostate cancer and may contribute to patient-doctor discussions about whether to opt for prostate cancer screening.  A lead investigator said that these results are not yet practice changing and that more evidence is needed “before we can routinely consider baldness in prostate cancer screening recommendations.”

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