March 17, 2010
EPA Cuts Bowel Cancer Risk In Genetically At Risk

2 grams per day of omega 3 fatty acid EPA cut precancerous bowel polyps in those at especially high genetic risk of bowel cancer.

A purified form of an omega 3 cuts the number and size of precancerous bowel growths (polyps) in people whose genetic make-up predisposes them to bowel cancer, finds research published ahead of print in the journal Gut.

Furthermore, this particular omega 3 (eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA) seems to be as effective as the prescription medicine used to treat familial bowel polyps, but without the associated cardiovascular side effects.

The researchers base their findings on 55 patients, all of whom had the inherited genetic mutation that prompts the development of precancerous polyps in the bowel - known as familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP for short.

People with FAP are at significantly increased risk of developing bowel cancer and require surgery to remove large sections of their bowel. Subsequently, some also need regular monitoring.

One can't tell from this study alone whether EPA would cut bowel cancer risk in the majority of people. But other studies suggest omega 3's cut risk of a few cancer types including colorectal cancer.

HOUSTON Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, primarily found in fish and seafood, may have a role in colorectal cancer prevention, according to results presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held Dec. 6-9, 2009, in Houston.

"Experimental data have shown benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in colorectal carcinogenesis, ranging from reduced tumor growth, suppression of angiogenesis and inhibition of metastasis," said Sangmi Kim, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, N.C. "Our finding of inverse association between dietary intakes of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and distal large bowel cancer in white participants adds additional support to the hypothesis."

I take a few fish oil capsules every day. I hope they are cutting my cancer risk. But since cancer risk can't be cut to zero we really need cancer cures.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 March 17 09:03 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies


Comments
Andrea said at March 18, 2010 4:19 PM:

I hope the PCBs in my fish oil capsules don't cancel out the omega 3 benefits.

Dick Laurent said at March 18, 2010 4:37 PM:

Sure, it cuts the number and size of precancerous bowel growths (polyps) in people whose genetic make-up predisposes them to bowel cancer, but how much does it cut the number and size of polyps..... 1%, 5%, 10% ???? Can we quantify this "cut" so that we can have some idea of its magnitude???

BBM said at March 19, 2010 10:20 AM:

There is a very important point missed here.

EPA, like the perscription meds (eg diclofenac or celebrex) only seem to decrease "number and size of precancerous bowel growths (polyps)".

This says nothing about actual cancer risk. The two do not necessarily go together. If fact, it seems that diclofenac and celebrex do not decrease cancer risk, but only reduce the number of polyps.

As a colo-rectal surgeon we treat these pts surgically. FAP is rare, and findings in the FAP population may not transfer over to the general population.

FWIW, though, I do take fish oil. The good brands will be tested by a 3rd party for absence of contaminants.

random said at March 19, 2010 11:13 AM:

"FWIW, though, I do take fish oil. The good brands will be tested by a 3rd party for absence of contaminants."

I take fish oil as well, but I hadn't really thought about contaminants. This lawsuit over PCBs is the first thing to turn up in Google:

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14501591 - "Roe said more expensive products did not necessarily get better results."

Holy Carcinogens, Batman! The cure is a killer!

Flax oil is a worthless source of Omega 3's because it doesn't contain enough the valuable long-chain fatty acids, and now fish oil is full of PCB's... (|{ !!!

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