July 08, 2010
Fish Oil Cuts Breast Cancer Risk?

Over a period of 6 years fish oil usage was correlated with reduced incidence of breast cancer.

PHILADELPHIA A recent report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to the growing evidence that fish oil supplements may play a role in preventing chronic disease.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., led by Emily White, Ph.D., a member of the public health sciences division, asked 35,016 postmenopausal women who did not have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their use of non-vitamin, non-mineral "specialty" supplements in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study.

After six years of follow-up, 880 cases of breast cancer were identified using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registry.

If this study's results turn out to be correct the risk reduction is substantial.

Regular use of fish oil supplements, which contain high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, was linked with a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. The reduction in risk appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease.

One study doesn't prove this result. But fish oil capsules are pretty cheap and probably won't hurt you. A randomized trial using vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids that should answer this question more definitively is currently undergoing recruitment. But if you think your risk of breast cancer is substantial you might not want to wait years for the results from that study.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 July 08 09:40 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies

Sione said at July 11, 2010 3:39 PM:

Lots of people have claimed that fish oil is the real deal and very good for you. Recently a Chinese guy I met on a plane trip went further still and claimed that diet was important not only in avoiding diseases such as cancer, but also in curing them. He believed that the diet Westerners use is a cause of cancer. He also stated that a revised diet could cure some cancers- some of which are conventionally thought to be incurable. My first thought was that he couldn't possibly be correct. BUT......what if he is correct?

The story of how stomach ulcers were originally cured by the ancient Chinese comes to mind. Ulcers were thought to be caused by stress and were, for most, incurable (except in certain parts of Greece) until some Australians demonstrated h.pylori as the culprit and that it could be killed off with triple treatment.

Could diet really cure some cancers as my Chinese friend suggested?


AB said at July 12, 2010 3:37 AM:

@Slone Yes. see http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html

and here is the most requested slide from the presentation: http://blog.ted.com/2010/02/dr_william_lis.php

Nancy Reyes MD said at July 12, 2010 3:33 PM:

Not mentioned: How long did the women use fish oil, what type of capsules did they use (OTC supplements vary greatly in their content), did the cancer decrease statistically with the increase in fish oil capsules, did those who ate fish a lot have a similar effect, how many kids born in each study, did they breast feed, and how long,how many uncompleted pregnancy in each group, and the big one: What were the ages of the women?

I "dropped out" of that study because I was making up my dietary habits, because I simply couldn't remember what I ate. Wonder how accurate the survey was, and have been suspicious of their reports since that time.

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