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Could Hair Loss at 20 Signal Higher Prostate Cancer Risk?
Date:2/16/2011

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Men with prostate cancer may be twice as likely to have started showing signs of male pattern baldness at the age of 20 than those without prostate cancer, a new French study suggests.

Men who start losing their hair in their 30s or 40s do not appear to face a similar boost in prostate cancer risk. And those whose hair loss starts in their 20s do not face a higher risk of developing the cancer at an early age or of developing more aggressive tumors, the research team noted.

Whether or not men who experience youthful hair loss may benefit from prostate cancer screening is yet to be determined, the study authors added.

"At present, there is no hard evidence to show any benefit from screening the general population for prostate cancer," study author Dr. Philippe Giraud, from the European Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, said in a news release from the European Society for Medical Oncology. "We need a way of identifying those men who are at high risk of developing the disease."

Noting that androgens associated with hair loss are also associated with prostate cancer, he and the other researchers called for more studies to see whether interventions might be appropriate for men with very early balding.

Physicians need to know "who could be targeted for screening and also considered for chemo-prevention using anti-androgenic drugs such as finasteride," Giraud said.

"Balding at the age of 20 may be one of these easily identifiable risk factors, and more work needs to be done now to confirm this," he added.

Giraud, who is also a professor of radiation oncology at the Paris Descartes University, reports his team's findings in the Feb. 15 online edition of the journal Annals of Oncology.

The authors noted that male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) is very common, affecting about half of all men at some point in their lives.

Its onset has pre
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