Something Fishy About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer risks decrease with regular fish consumption

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Eating more fish and less red meat is generally considered to be a healthy dietary change. And you've no doubt heard about taking your fish oil. Now there's another feather in the health hats of fish.

Folks who ate fish regularly had lower risks of developing or dying from colorectal cancer, according to a recent analysis (meta-analysis) of 41 past studies.

"Replace some red meat in your diet with baked fish."

The studies looked primarily at fresh fish and didn't zero in on types of fish the people ate or how fish was prepared.

Preparation method is important because it's known that cooking/grilling fish - and muscle meats (beef, chicken, pork) - at high temperatures releases cancer-causing chemicals.

Researchers reviewed 41 studies that looked at fish consumption and cancer diagnosis.

People who ate fish regularly were seen to have a 12 percent lower risk of developing or dying from colorectal cancer.

This protective effect was greater with rectal cancer than it was for colon cancer, with the risks being 21 percent lower for rectal and just four percent lower for colon.

The authors conclude, "The present meta-analysis suggests that fish consumption has preventive effects on colorectal cancer."

They continue, "Because of the relatively large health impact and burden from colorectal cancer, the findings demonstrated should be further investigated and confirmed in the setting of a large randomized clinical trial."

The study, partially funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, was published April 18, 2012 in the American Journal of Medicine

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 24, 2012
Last Updated:
August 3, 2012