By Dr Jeff Donovan, Canadian Hair Loss Foundation
New Study Suggests no Risk of Breast Cancer
Finasteride and dutasteride are used to treat male pattern hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia). These medications an be used alone or combined with minoxidil or hair transplant surgery. One of the rare risks of these drugs is enlargement of breast tissue in men - a phenomenon called gynecomastia. There has been some question in the past as to whether there could be an increased risk breast cancer in men. Recent evidence has suggested that there is no such increased risk and a new study supports this notion as well.
A new study suggests no risk
A study from the UK of men aged 45 years and older was done to evaluate men with breast cancer compared to men without breast cancer over the 20 year period 1992 - 2011. 398 cases were identified and matched to 3,930 controls. In this study, there was no evidence of an association between short-term or long-term use of finasteride or dutasteride and the risk for breast cancer in men.
In 2013, there was another study from the Journal of Urology which suggested that there was no increased risk of breast cancer. This study is in line with these previous studies. Overall, the overwhelming data to date suggest that use of these medications for hair loss does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
1. Duijnhoven et al. Long-term use of 5α-reductase inhibitors and the risk of male breast cancer.
Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Aug 19.