Cancer: Men who start to lose their hair at 20 may be at higher risk later in life – study


Prostate cancer is one of the four most common cancers in the UK alongside bowel, breast, and lung cancer. According to charity Prostate Cancer UK: “More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.” Alongside this, around 11,500 men will die every year from the condition; the equivalent one every 45 minutes. While prostate cancer rarely presents with symptoms in its early stages, there are some factors men can be aware of that can put them at greater risk.

One of these factors is if (or when) a man starts to lose their hair.

A 2011 study published in the Annals of Oncology journal found men who started to lose their hair at the age of 20 were more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than men who didn’t.

Until this research was undertaken, there had been conflicting evidence about the link between balding and prostate cancer.

This was the first study to identify such a link.

READ MORE: Man told ‘it’s all good’ by doctors had ‘incurable’ cancer missed

At the time of publication Professor Philippe Giraud said: “At present there is no hard evidence to show any benefit from screening the general population for prostate cancer:

“We need a way of identifying those men who are at high risk of developing the disease and who could be targeted for screening and also considered for chemo-prevention using anti-androgenic drugs.”

As a result of this study, Giraud thought balding at the age 20 “may be one of these easily identifiable risk factors”.

Giraud added that more research is needed to be done in order to confirm whether there was a link.


Keeping awareness high outside of the winter months is crucial as cancer doesn’t take the summer off.

As a result, it is key to keep the messaging punching through so men know what to look for and when to take action.

Although prostate cancer doesn’t normally exhibit symptoms in its early stages, this doesn’t mean it won’t.

The main symptoms of prostate cancer to look out for are:

·         Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder

·         A weak flow when urinating begins

·         A feeling the bladder hasn’t emptied properly

·         Dribbling urine after you finish urinating

·         Needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night

·         A sudden need to urinate.

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