Medical News Daily: Hidden Meaning of Male Pattern Baldness

Male Baldness

Men having pattern baldness have increased risk of having an aggressive prostate cancer relative to those men who have no problems in hair fall and balding, the medical research news suggests.


However, in terms of specific patterns which indicate a severe complication in the said reproductive gland, researches have not yet determined which. The results of the test were only concluding an association or connection between patterns on male baldness and this aggressive type cancer in the prostate. It did not conclude cause-effect relationship.


Dr. Michael Cook, the co-author of the said experiment, expresses that someday, it is possible that patterns on male baldness may be an indication of the degree of risk of having prostate cancer. Thus, this is one indicator for the frequency and the intensity that prostate cancer tests should be given. Dr. Cook is a researcher with the cancer epidemiology and genetics division at the Institute of National Cancer in the United States, based on studies.


The study conducted is not considered preliminary since it has been published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Clinical Oncology Journal.


Male pattern baldness refers to a pattern of hair fall and eventual loss of hair that begins when the front hairline, the portion above the forehead or the top of the nape recedes. In short, the loss of hair starts from the front and the back going to the middle. In some males, the receding hairline begins on both the right and left portions of one’s upper forehead, forming the shape of a horn which makes the forehead broader while a clump of hair remains in the middle. This happens whenever there is a prolonged and sustained exposure to the male hormone, called the testosterone, in the human skin.


Associate Professor and Doctor Charles Ryan of medicine department in San Francisco at the California University, said that the testosterone levels are not the problem. Instead, it is the skin’s ability to process the hormone. Hair-loss medications, such as the treatment Propecia, target to have testosterones’ effect blocked on one’s skin, he added.


Testosterone also is a catalyst of cancer in the prostate – the higher the levels of unprocessed testosterone, the higher the tendency for a male to have the disease. Dr. Ryan said that that could explain why male pattern baldness is often associated with prostate cancer, even in some experiments.


According to the health and medical news, the experiment was conducted on an estimate of 40,000 males in the United States who enrolled in the said test between the years 1993 to 2001. These males are aged between 55 to 74 years old. The subjects responded to questions about what they can recall of their level and pattern of loss of hair when they were 45 years old.


The result? An estimated 18 percent of the men remembered having male pattern baldness at 45, according to the study. That is roughly 7,200 respondents. During the follow-up procedure five years later between years 2006 to 2008, the investigators discovered that more than 1,100 men in included in the research were detected having prostate cancer. Of the 1,100, nearly 600 men have acquired the aggressive type of cancer in the prostate.


Which type of baldness determines which – men who had experiences of having a receding hairline and eventual hair loss starting from the front, on top of the forehead and somehow around the crown of their heads. It turns out that 39 percent of men who experience this pattern have a higher probability of developing an aggressive type of cancer in the prostate unlike men who do not have hair loss and baldness problems.


The rest of the types of baldness were not associated with a development or growth of cancer cells in the reproductive gland, according to research about the cases.


There is a huge disclaimer though. First, the respondents depend on their memory and observation and it is likely that they gave inaccurate testimonies. Second, 89 percent of the men were white and it was not determined whether the complexion is another factor to be considered in the experiment.


So what do doctors suggest? They encourage males to be keen and observant in the pattern of their baldness and hair fall. It might be a natural consequence for aging, it might also be a symptom or a warning of a much larger illness. Currently, there is regular discourse in the medical community about the overall importance of cancer in the prostate testing, with or without male pattern baldness as symptoms.