Fatty Fish May Lower Kidney Cancer Risk


The next time you shop for organic food, consider adding fatty fish—salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel—to your cart.


Preliminary research from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, suggests that women who eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids have a lower risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a common form of kidney cancer. The study was published in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

RCC involving the renal parenchyma (the functional tissue of the kidney) accounts for more than 80% of all kidney cancers, and the rate has increased, especially among black women and men.

“We found that women who consumed one or more servings of fatty fish per week had a statistically significant 44% decreased risk of RCC compared with women who did not consume any fish,” the authors write. “Women who reported consistent long-term consumption of fatty fish…had a statistically significant 74% lower risk.”

The researchers believe an increased intake of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D contributes to the lower cancer risk, but emphasize that additional studies are required to draw a firm conclusion. Fatty fish has 20 to 30 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than lean fish like cod, tuna, sweet water fish and seafood (shrimp, lobster, crayfish), as well as three to five times more vitamin D.

Please see our feature article, Which Fish Is Fit to Eat?, for information of making environmentally sound fish choices.

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