If you’re in your 20s but your hairline resembles Jude Law’s, listen up: According to new French research, guys who show signs of male pattern baldness as young men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life.
The researchers studied more than 650 men. Those who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer were twice as likely to have begun going bald early in life compared with cancer-free guys. And it didn’t matter whether they looked like Vince Vaughn or George Costanza—any level of baldness upped the risk for cancer.
Just because you go bald early in life doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be diagnosed with prostate cancer, though, or that you’ll necessarily be diagnosed any earlier. But you may want to talk with your doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer at 40—the age suggested for guys who are at high risk—instead of 50, which is recommended if you’re at average risk, says lead researcher Philip Giraud, M.D., Ph.D. Ultimately, when you should be screened is a decision to make with your doctor.
So what’s the connection between the hair on your head and cancer? Testosterone. High levels of testosterone have been connected with both male pattern baldness and being more likely to get prostate cancer. Further research is needed, however, to know for certain if this is the cause of the link, Giraud says.