A high dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids, derived from oily fish, may help to lower the risk of death from bowel cancer in patients diagnosed with the disease, suggests research published online in the journal Gut. If the findings can be reproduced in other studies, patients with bowel cancer might benefit from boosting their oily fish intake to help prolong their survival, say the researchers. Previous experimental research has shown that omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)—namely, EPA and DHA—can suppress tumour growth and curb blood supply to malignant cells (angiogenesis).
The extent of the reduced risk seemed to be linked to dose, with higher doses associated with lower risk, the findings showed. This held true even after taking account of intake prior to the diagnosis, as well as other potentially influential factors. Compared with patients who consumed less than 0.1 g of omega 3 fatty acids daily, those who consumed at least 0.3 g daily after their diagnosis, had a 41% lower risk of dying from their disease.