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Good News, Bad News On Breast Cancer Risks

February 28, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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Eating salmon may help prevent breast cancer, but jogging may not.

A study led by researchers at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, found that omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a reduction in both the incidence and the growth of breast tumors. The study was published, with open access, in the January issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

The researchers created a strain of mice that both produced omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in oily fish as well as flaxseed and some other plants) and developed aggressive breast tumors. They compared that group of mice to others genetically engineered only for the breast-cancer susceptibility.

The omega-3 mice developed only two-thirds as many tumors as the control mice, and the ones they did develop were 30 percent smaller.

David Ma, PhD, senior author of the study, said:

The difference can be solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice. That’s significant. The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumor development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention.

Dr. Ma is associate professor of human health and nutritional sciences. He was quoted in a university news release.

Meanwhile, a study published in the December 2012 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found no relationship between physical activity and in situ (noninvasive) breast cancer—despite the findings of earlier studies indicating that exercise decreased the risk of invasive breast cancer.

Researchers from 10 European countries followed 283,927 European women, 1,059 of whom had in situ cancer, for 11 years.

María-José Sánchez Pérez, MD, PhD, one of the study’s authors, speculated:

The etiology of in situ breast cancer could be different to that of invasive breast cancer, or rather physical activity has a protective effect only in later stages of the carcinogenesis process. This would explain why no association has been found in noninvasive breast cancer.

Dr. Sánchez Pérez is director of the Granada Cancer Registry in Granada, Spain. She was quoted in a Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology news release.

An earlier study of the same women found that physically active menopausal women had a 14 percent less chance of developing invasive breast cancer than their sedentary counterparts.

Related seminar: UCSF Breast Imaging and Digital Mammography (free domestic shipping)

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