Thursday, 11 July 2013

More research on Omega-3

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!


  1. Paul, I agree that these results are confusing. However the finding that higher omega 3s are associated with prostate cancer are not as clear cut as the press coverage would suggest. It also contradicts another study published around the same time and using the same approach which found no link between omega 3s and prostate cancer incidence. For more details take a look at my post here:

    1. Thanks Pan, no doubt there will be more research into this topic in the future - let's hope that results in increased clarity! Paul.