Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Study Suggesting Fish, Not Fish Oil, Prevents Breast Cancer

I've blogged before about studies that have shown that fish and fish oil supplements reduce risk for breast cancer.  This is not new news.  But what's new is a recently published study in breast cancer survivors.  And chances are, you know and love a few of these women.  Please forward this information along to them.

The study followed a group of 3,000 women who had been diagnosed and treated for early stage breast cancer.  Over a period of 7 years, the Dr. Dorks periodically assessed what foods and supplements they were consuming and documented any future cases of breast cancer.  Results showed that women eating the most fatty fish had a 25% reduction in risk of recurring breast cancer versus women that didn't eat fatty fish.  Interestingly, women with high intakes of fish oil from supplements did not have a reduced risk of recurring breast cancer.

What does this mean?  

These types of studies do not prove cause and effect, meaning we cannot conclude that fish reduces breast cancer risk and fish oil supplements do not.  It is entirely possible that the women who ate fish were also doing something else that prevented the recurrence of their cancer whereas the women taking supplements were not.  And it is entirely possible that whole fish has some special cancer fighting properties that are not found in fish oil supplements.  We just don't know yet.

But here's the thing....just eat the damn fish!  There are so many benefits to eating fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna) "be he a man or woman"*.  And there is little risk (aside from the pollutants and heavy metals that might accumulate in farm-raised fish...might want to choose fresh more often than farmed).  The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week.  Do your breasts a favor and follow this recommendation.  

This goes out to Lori, Vera, Cathy and all of my other friends that have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with breast cancer... 

*From Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy