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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Fish Oil Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Study Shows Fish Oil Supplements May Cut Risk of Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer

Second Opinion

"This study is one of the largest studies that have come out showing that there may be role for fish oil in the prevention of cancer, specifically breast cancer," says Lorenzo Cohen, MD, director of the Integrative Medicine Program and chief of the section of integrative medicine in the department of general oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"It is most likely useful for cardiovascular risks, and the jury is still out on whether it helps in the prevention of breast cancer, but it's not going to hurt," he says.

It's buyer beware when it comes to choosing fish oil supplements, he says.

"Some products may be contaminated with heavy metals," he says. "If you are not going to get fish oil from the fish itself, do appropriate homework to make sure you choose a reputable product," he says.

Peiying Yang, PhD, an assistant professor of integrative medicine at M.D. Anderson, recently received a grant to study how fish oil supplements affect lung cancer risk. "Fish oil, in general, is a very good anti-inflammatory agent, and inflammation plays a role in cancer development," she says.

The new findings are "interesting and provocative," says Bette Caan, DrPh, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland. "I would not recommend that people start taking fish oil specifically to prevent breast cancer because the data is just not there yet, but if they are taking it for other reasons, they should continue."

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