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Early Baldness Linked to Cancer

By on March 28, 2013

Early baldness could be a marker for prostate cancer in black males. New research finds a significant link between early baldness and prostate cancer among African-American men, a group at particularly high risk of prostate cancer.

African-American men present with unique risk factors including baldness patterns that may contribute to prostate cancer disparities.

University of Pennsylvania researcher Charnita M. Zeigler-Johnson, PhD, says baldness and cancer may be linked through a testosterone product called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.  Dr. Zeigler-Johnson says the product 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.

We observed significant associations between early-onset baldness and prostate cancer in African-American men. Interactions with age and smoking were suggested in these associations. Studies are needed to investigate the mechanisms influencing the relationship between baldness and prostate cancer in African-American men.

The study recruited 219 African-American controls and 318 African-American prostate cancer cases and stratified by associations of baldness and prostate cancer occurrence. The study controlled for age, family history, alcohol intake, and smoking.

Corresponding Author:
Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 220 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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