Healthy Living: Link Between Hair Loss and Prostate Cancer

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CHARLOTTE -- Being bald may make some men self-conscious, but could it also indicate they'll face a health risk? A new study says hair loss in middle age ups a man's risk of prostate cancer when he's older.

Stylists at a Charlotte salon, Roosters Grooming Center, pride themselves on making every man look great, even the guys who are a bit hair-challenged.

'I don't think being bald is anything bad anymore. Some men even choose to be bald even though they wouldn't have to,' said Uli Seuster, Rooster's Grooming Center.

A new study says hair loss can indicate whether you're more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer in your later years.

Men balding in the front and, to a lesser degree, on the top of their head at age 45 had a 39 percent higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer over the course of the study, compared to men who had all of their hair at age 45.

'It appears the protention link between the development of prostate cancer and male pattern baldness may be the role of testosterone,' said Dr. Earle Burgess, Levine Cancer Institute.

Burgess is skeptical about this study and says there just isn't enough information here to act on.

'Individual patients should discuss the risk of prostate cancer with their physician. There's not one generalizable advice that people should take home,' said Burgess.

In fact, Dr. Burgess says this research may raise more questions than it does answers.

One of the problems with this study is that men were expected to remember how bald they were and how much hair they'd lost at age 45. But some of the men in the study were 65 or 75 when the researchers talked to them, so did they really remember correctly?

For now, the advice for men remains the same: prostate cancer screenings shouldn't be based on your hair, or lack of it, but rather, family history and a conversation with your doctor about your health. Your stylist can help you with the hair.

There are a few things known to actually lower the risk of prostate cancer: eat well, exercise regularly and don't smoke.

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