Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Baldness Tied To Cancer Risk
It seems like every week researchers are finding another health indicator that can be tied to increase risk for cancer. This week, we received a new indicator that could be a sign that you are at an increased risk of certain forms of cancer.
Baldness is a plight that affects both men and women, and have been a source of frustration for millions and millions of people throughout time. Mostly a vanity issue -- carrying with it little further health risk -- baldness has always been thought of as more of an unfair annoyance than a serious problem; but these new research studies show that men (out of 10,000 person study) who suffer "male pattern baldness" hair loss were more likely to be diagnosed with a malignant tumor.
There are several different thoughts on why there is such a strong link between prostate cancer and baldness, and most of the ideas center around hormones or age, as the proverbial x-factor. This is where the researchers and physicians begin to take one of two sides. Some health professionals believe that since both hair loss and cancer have proven links to genetics, that a combination of age and genetic history causes the link. Other health professionals believe that the links are tied more to hormones; whereas, excess testosterone can hinder and slow hair growth, this hormone also can cause or provoke the growth of cancerous cells. The hormone-side argues that prostate issues can cause increased testosterone, which in-turn cause the early baldness, and risk of prostate cancer later in life. The other side argues that the inherent genetic trait that causes male pattern baldness must also be tied to a genetically inherited risk.
Whichever side you take on the argument, it is really just concentrating on the "chicken and egg theory," while ignoring the fact that this is a true indicator for increased risk. Though an individual is not going to be subject to a 100% risk for cancer, but males that lose their hair early in life should recognize the connection and consider themselves "at risk." These individuals should make it a priority to have more frequent prostate exams and screenings.