The Fish Factor: Risk of lymph, blood cancers lower in fish eaters

People who eat fish regularly several times a week are significantly less likely to get cancers of the lymph and hematopoietic system, which include leukaemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and myeloma, suggests a recent study. While a fish-heavy diet is associated with reduced risk of other common cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon cancers, cancers of the lymph and hematopoietic system are not typically thought to be associated with diet.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and CancerCare Manitoba had previously found people in fish-related occupations to have less risk of these diseases. A new investigation looked at incidence of leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in more than 6,800 Canadians who reported fish consumption through a food frequency questionnaire.

They found that people who consumed more fresh fish had a significantly lower risk of each of the three types of cancer. For those who ate the most fish on a regular basis, risk of all lymph and blood system cancers were reduced by 37% and 34%, respectively. The risk reduction was even greater for leukemia (45%).

“These findings suggest that a diet high in fish may be protective against lymphohematopoietic cancers and confirm the reduced risk among fish workers,” conclude the researchers.

NutraIngredients, July 2, 2004