There have been a number of studies that have linked male pattern baldness with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. A possible explanation for why baldness is a risk factor for the development of prostate cancer is that hormones play a role in both baldness and in prostate cancer.

We known that baldness joins the other risk factors; older age, black ancestry, a family history, and genetic mutations, such as BRCA mutations for the development of prostate cancer.

A new study has added some urgency to the question of whether or not baldness is also a risk factor for prostate cancer death as opposed to just the risk of having the cancer. This study has found that male pattern baldness is tied to the risk for not only developing prostate cancer, but also for prostate cancer death!

Published results in the Feb. 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology claimed that the risk of prostate cancer death is 1.5 times greater in bald men than in those with no baldness.

The researchers looked at info on 4,316 men who were 25 to 74 years old from 1971 to 1974 and hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer. They have been performing a long-term follow up of these men.

To date, there have been 3,284 deaths, 107 of which were caused by prostate cancer. They found that the risk for fatal prostate cancer was 56% higher in men with any baldness than in those with no baldness. In men with moderate balding, the risk was 83% higher than in men without any baldness.

So, not only is baldness a risk factor for prostate cancer, it is also a risk factor for prostate cancer death. All of us men need to remain vigilant, but men with any baldness need to understand their increased risk for developing aggressive, life threatening prostate cancer.

I am one individual with advanced prostate cancer who now has a second reason to be happy that I have all my hair.