Hair loss before age 30 is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer later in life, according to a new study that contradicts some earlier research.
''Men who have early-onset male pattern baldness, by age 30, were found to have a 29% reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer," says study co-author Jonathan L. Wright, MD, an affiliate investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and assistant professor of urology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The study is published online in Cancer Epidemiology.
''The longer you have the baldness, the more the protection," he tells WebMD.
The apparent protection was found, he says, for aggressive and less aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
In 2009, about 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society, with about 27,000 deaths expected. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of a man's bladder and urine-carrying tube, or urethra.
Male pattern baldness affects about 25% of men by age 30, 50% by age 50, and nearly 80% by age 70. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, and baldness occurs when hair follicles become exposed to too much DHT.
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