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Fish Oil Usage Linked to Lower Risk of Certain Breast Cancers

Current use of fish oil supplements associated with 32-percent lower risk of incident breast cancer

THURSDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- The use of fish oil supplementation may be associated with a lower risk of certain breast cancers, according to research published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Theodore M. Brasky, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 35,016 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 76 years. The women were free of history of breast cancer at baseline. Participants disclosed their use of nonvitamin, nonmineral "specialty" supplements at baseline, and were followed for incident invasive breast cancer diagnoses -- obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry -- for a mean six years.

The researchers found that current use of fish oil was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (hazard ratio, 0.68). Participants' 10-year average use was linked to a trend toward reduced risk. The decreased risk with current fish oil usage was seen in ductal carcinoma but not lobular carcinoma. Supplements not associated with risk included black cohosh, dong quai, soy, St. John's wort, and grapeseed.

"Our finding of a reduced risk of breast cancer with use of fish oil warrants further study of this agent, focused particularly on timing of exposure and dose, as well as on mechanisms of action that might explain differences by tumor stage or histologic type. Until these results are replicated, fish oil supplements should not be promoted for reduction of breast cancer risk," the authors conclude.

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