Androgenic alopecia is caused by a genetic sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens, which causes the hair follicles to shrink. This shortens their lifespan and prevents the scalp from producing hair normally.
Androgens have also been shown to play a role in the development of prostate cancer.
Despite the association of androgen between male pattern baldness and prostate cancer, a direct link between male pattern baldness and prostate cancer has never been shown.
Now, a study suggested that individuals who have early-onset androgenic alopecia might have an increase risk of developing prostate cancer.
In that study, a total of 669 subjects (388 with a history of prostate cancer and 281 without) were enrolled and were asked to score their balding pattern at the age of 20, 30 and 40. To the surprise of the investigators, they found that patients with prostate cancer were twice as likely to have androgenic alopecia at age 20 (P=0.0285).
The question that is unknown to the investigators is whether treatment of male pattern baldness with products such as minoxidil (Rogaine), finasteride (Propecia), dutasteride (Avodart) or BAWANG can prevent prostate cancer.
Source: Annals of Oncology Feb 15, 2011
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