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Oily fish may boost bowel cancer survival

28/07/2016

Oily fish may boost bowel cancer survivalNew research suggests that bowel cancer patients who eat oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel, could reduce their chances of dying from the disease.

In fact, the research, which was published in the journal Gut, says that a bowel cancer patient's chance of death could be reduced by as much as 70% simply by upping their consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish).

What's more exciting is that even small amounts seemed to make a difference.

For example, while a normal portion of oily fish contains around 1.8g of Omega-3, the researchers found that just 0.3g a day can reduce a bowel cancer patient's chance of death within 10 years by 41%. This means that even a few mouthfuls of oily fish each day, or a couple of portions each week, can make a significant difference.

Previous research has shown that Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) suppress tumour growth and restrict blood supply to cancer cells.

The researchers said that even though more studies are needed to allow for more firm conclusions to be drawn, there is strong evidence to suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids do indeed impact bowel cancer survival.

“If replicated by other studies, our results support the clinical recommendation of increasing marine omega-3 fatty acids among patients with bowel cancer,” said lead researcher Dr Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
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