Men with male pattern baldness may face a higher risk of developing an aggressive type of prostate cancer than men with no balding, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers looked at nearly 40,000 men in the United States who enrolled in the study between 1993 and 2001, when they were between 55 and 74 years old. The participants answered questions about what they remembered of their level and type of hair loss at age 45. About 18 percent of the men recalled having male pattern baldness at age 45.

During the study follow-up period between 2006 and 2008, the investigators found that more than 1,100 men in the study were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Nearly 600 of those men developed aggressive prostate cancer.

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Men who remembered having a specific type of male pattern baldness — in the front and, moderately, around the crown of the head — were 39 percent more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men who had no baldness, but they weren’t more likely to have less aggressive types of prostate cancer. Other types of baldness were not linked to the development of aggressive or other types of prostate cancer.

“It is conceivable that, in the future, male pattern baldness may play a small role in estimating risk of prostate cancer and may contribute to discussions between doctors and patients about prostate cancer screening,” study coauthor Michael Cook, Ph.D., told HealthDay. Cook is an investigator with the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.