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Eating oily fish or fish oil cuts fatal prostate cancer risk

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By Jimmy Downs

Sunday April 21, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Most cases of prostate cancer are non-lethal.  Elderly men with prostate cancer could be more likely to die from another disease than prostate cancer.  However, some cases of prostate cancer are fatal.   A new study in American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that eating oily fish or taking fish oil supplements may help reduce the risk of fatal prostate cancer drastically.

Claire Bosire from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA  and colleagues conducted the study and found eating fish, which is common among people who eat a Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk for fatal prostate cancer by 21 percent.

The researchers also found taking omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in oil fish or fish oil, can reduce the risk by 6 percent.
A total of 293,464 US men were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study.  Three diet quality indices, "the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005), Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010), and alternate Mediterranean diet score (aMED)" were used to evaluate the quality of the diets used by the participants.  The data along with the risk of prostate cancer were analysed to examine if there is any association between the diet quality and the disease.   

During a 10-year follow-up, 23,453 incident cases of prostate cancer with 2251 advanced and 428 fatal were identified.   Among men who reported having a history of prostate specific antigen testing, high HEI-2005 and AHEI-2010 score were correlated with a reduced risk for total prostate cancer, that is, those in the highest quintile were 8 and 7 percent less likely to develop total prostate cancer compared with those in the lowest quintile.

AMed score was not associated with total prostate cancer, meaning that Mediterranean diet may not be associated with the risk.   Additionally, any indices were not associated with advanced or  fatal prostate cancer risk, regardless of PSA testing status.

However, "the fish component of aMED and ω-3 fatty acids component of AHEI-2010 were inversely associated with fatal prostate cancer," the researchers reported, suggesting that eating fish or taking omega 3 fatty acids supplements may help cut the fatal prostate cancer risk.

Prostate cancer is in many cases preventable.

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