Ask the Experts #3: Does Fish Oil Increase the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

In our Ask the Experts series, we’ll put a common question to one of the Grace Prostate Cancer Centre’s urologists, and they’ll offer up an honest, candid response. From concerns about the prostate and prostate cancer, to queries regarding prostate cancer surgery or alternative treatment options, you’ll find the answer here.

Today, we ask Bay of Plenty Urologist Liam Wilson on his opinion about a recent study that suggests high levels of fish oil could increase the chance developing prostate cancer.

“Fish-oil supplements credited with a range of health benefits could trigger prostate cancer. Experts found that omega-3 fatty acids may raise the risk of the most lethal form of the disease by more than 70 per cent. Researchers warned against omega-3 pills, and recommended eating just one or two meals of oily fish per week.” – ‘ Taking omega-3 fish oil supplements may increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 70%’ – Daily Mail

Does Fish Oil Increase the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

This study could lead to confusion. Fish, tomatoes and pomegranates are all said to be beneficial in (possibly) preventing prostate cancer.

While this paper showed that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood were associated with an increased risk of  prostate cancer, this hasn’t been replicated in other studies.

There was no information in this study as to why these men had high levels; for example, there was no dietary history – so we can’t know if they were eating truckloads of fish, or if their levels were high because of supplements, and which supplements they might have been taking, as some can have very high concentrations of ingredients.

What we can take from this study is that a balanced diet is far better for you than taking supplements, and fish still remains a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the heart.

There needs to be more research on the link between omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of prostate cancer before we cut fish from our diets!


See previous Ask the Expert question and answer posts: 

Will I Ever Be Dry Again After Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Will My Ejaculate Change After Prostate Cancer Surgery?

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