My last post commented on the confusing nature of research into the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment. This morning BBC radio news reported the results of research into these substances and prostate cancer; the findings claim to show that men with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are at significantly greater risk of developing aggressive forms of this disease. This raises further questions in my mind about the role omega-3 fatty acids may play in both the initiation and progression of tumours.
Whilst I've been writing about omega-3 fatty acids similar uncertainties exist around the potential benefit or harm caused by many other substances. In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary I will stick with a healthy, balanced diet avoiding supplements (unless instructed otherwise by my oncologist).
In discussing the issues around diet related research I'm not criticising cancer research in general; I'm convinced that research into the disease is the best tool we have for improving patient outcomes. I read a really positive story on the Cancer Research UK website today which claims that half a million lives have been saved in the UK in the last thirty years as a result of cancer research. I'm always a little cautious about taking statistics at face value, but in this case I think that the overall message is more important than the detailed figures. Let's hope this trend continues in coming years!