Men who begin going bald at 20 have twice the risk of prostate cancer in later life, according to research.
The link could help identify those most in danger of developing the disease the most common cancer among men in the UK and enable them to be targeted for screening.
A study of 388 prostate cancer patients and 281 healthy volunteers found those with the disease were twice as likely to have started going bald when they were 20. But for those who lost their hair later, when they were 30 or 40, there was no difference in their risk compared to the control group.
Until now there has been conflicting evidence about the relationship between hair loss and cancer.
Baldness is caused by DHT, a chemical produced by the male hormone testosterone. Studies have also linked testosterone to cancer tumour growth.
But the French research, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, is the first to suggest going bald early is a bad sign.
Professor Philippe Giraud, of Paris Descartes University, said: “Balding at 20 may be one of these easily identifiable risk factors and more work needs to be done now to confirm this.”
Dr Kate Holmes, of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said many other factors, such as diet and lifestyle, also affected the risk of prostate cancer. – Daily Mail
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