Omega-3 May Reduce Risk of Bowel Cancer Death

Pharmacy Times, September 2016 Men's Health, Volume 82, Issue 9

Patients with a bowel cancer diagnosis who have a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids may have better odds of surviving the disease.

Patients with a bowel cancer diagnosis who have a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids may have better odds of surviving the disease, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, published in Gut, analyzed data on 173,229 patients across 2 studies who completed questionnaires about their medical history and lifestyle factors every 2 years. After an average monitoring period of 10.5 years, 1659 patients had a diagnosis of bowel cancer and 561 of these patients died, with 169 of these deaths attributed to the disease.

Based on their analysis, the researchers determined that patients with bowel cancer whose diets contained higher levels of marine omega- 3 faced an overall lower risk of dying of the disease; specifically, patients who consumed at least 0.3 g of omega-3 fatty acids each day after getting a diagnosis of bowel cancer were 41% less likely to die than those who consumed less than 0.1 g daily after diagnosis.

Additionally, increasing daily intake of marine omega-3 by at least 0.15 g after diagnosis was associated with a 70% lower risk of dying of bowel cancer, whereas consuming less marine omega-3 each day after a diagnosis of bowel cancer was linked with a 10% higher risk of death from the disease.

Although the study authors acknowledged that further studies are needed to establish causality, they concluded that increasing consummation of omega-3, especially from oily fish, may help patients with bowel cancer prolong their survival.