Fish consumption lowers colorectal cancer risk

November 22, 2006 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Fish consumption lowers colorectal cancer risk

According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, men who eat fish at least five times a week could cut their risk of colorectal cancer by up to 40 percent, compared to men who eat fish less than once a week.

The study, of more than 22,000 was originally designed to investigate the effect of aspirin and beta carotene on the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

After a follow up period of over 19 years, researchers examined food frequency questionnaires and discovered fish consumption to be associated with a protective effect against colorectal cancer. Overall, researchers found that five or more serving of fish per week was associated with a 40 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Men who consumed it 2-5 times per week experienced a 20 percent lower risk, while those who ate fish less than twice a week had a 13 percent lower risk.

While the mechanism by which fish offers a protective effect was not studied, researchers suggest the omega-3 fatty acid content of the fish inhibits an enzyme that plays a role in an inflammatory response linked to cancer development.

These findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Frontier in Cancer Prevention meeting in November 2006.

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