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Fish consumption may lower the risk of certain cancers

How do you like your fish?

In the e-Alert “David Beats Goliath Again” (5/15/03), I told you about a University of Washington study that demonstrated how those who regularly eat tuna and other baked or broiled fish (3 or more times per week) may have a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) than those who eat the same fish infrequently. Those who regularly eat fried fish, however, could have a higher risk of both heart attack and death due to CHD.

Now a new study from a team of Canadian and Australian researchers reveals that fish consumption may also lower the risk of certain cancers.

Using data from a population-based study conducted in Canada between 1994 and 1998, dietary information was examined for more than 4,202 subjects without cancer, almost 920 subjects with leukemia, over 1,400 subjects with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and about 290 subjects with myeloma.

Weekly intake of fresh fish was studied, from which the researchers estimated total energy intake and total fat intake for each subject.

In the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, the researchers wrote: “People who consumed greater proportions of their total energy intake from fresh fish had a significantly lower risk of each of the three types of cancer”

In addition, researchers found that those who ate the most fish reduced their risk of leukemia by 45 percent, compared to subjects who ate the least amount of fish.

The study didn’t address fish preparation, but judging by the term “fresh fish,” I think we can be certain that those who enjoyed the most benefits of fish consumption were not eating fried filet-o-fish from their local fast food joint.

“Dietary Fish Intake and Risk of Leukaemia, Multiple Myeloma, and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, Vol. 13, April 2004,
“Fish Eaters at Lower Risk of Lymph, Blood Cancers”, 7/2/94,