Fish Eating and Breast Cancer
By Joel Fuhrman, M.D. www.drfuhrman.com
Both international comparisons and case-control studies around the world have documented a positive relationship between dietary fat and breast cancer. The Nurses Health Study involving 90,655 premenopausal women found red meat and high-fat dairy foods (cheese) to have the strongest association with an increased risk of breast cancer.1 It is well known that the fatty portion of animal products contains saturated fats, which are cancer-promoting. This is not surprising, since these same foods are associated with almost every other cancer as well.
However, further evidence in recent years has discovered another strong association—the link between fat-soluble pesticides such as DDT and dioxin with breast cancer. These organochlorine pesticides have received the most attention because their persistence in the environment gives them the ability to concentrate up the food chain. These pesticides are found in our food supply and in breast milk, and have the ability to be stored in the adipose (fatty) tissue of animals and humans. Women with breast cancer have been found to have higher levels of DDT in their bloodstream compared with age-matched controls without breast cancer.2 Even though these dangerous pesticides are now prohibited on food grown in America, they still remain in our environment and find their way back into our food supply through the fat in animal products, especially fish.
When a recent study looked at the relationship between fish intake and breast cancer, it found that women consuming a higher intake of fish have almost double the breast cancer incidence of women consuming little or no fish. This study followed 23,693 women until 424 of them were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that the preparation method (fried, boiled, or processed) and the type of fish did not matter. The significant association of breast cancer with fish consumption held firm for both lean and fatty fish prepared in any method.3
The bottom line is that for real cancer prevention and protection, we must avoid fatty meats, cheese, butter, and fish. Taking a non-fish derived DHA capsule is the best way to get a little extra of those favorable fish oils. I advise against eating fish for a source of these beneficial fats as fish is simply too polluted a food.
The scientific literature is routinely ignored by the media and health authorities. With a very high intake of clean produce and a low intake of cancer-promoting foods, millions of women’s lives can be saved every year. Green vegetables, fresh fruits, and beans have already shown a powerful dose-dependent ability to reduce breast cancer. Unfortunately, women are not given the clear message that true protection from cancer starts in the kitchen, not in the office of their doctor or radiologist.
1. Cho E, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, et al. Premenopausal fat intake and risk of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95(14):1079-85.
2. Charlier C, Albert A, Herman P, et al. Breast cancer and serum organochlorine residues. Occup Environ Med 2003;60(5):348-51.
3. Stripp C, Overvad K, Christensen J, et al. Fish intake is positively associated with breast cancer incidence rate. J Nutr 2003;133(11):3664-9. Fish Eating and Breast Cancer