However, a study by the University of Aberdeen found that a higher concentration of the molecules that break down omega-3 fatty acids is linked to a higher chance of survival in colon cancer.
This is the first time that molecules associated with the breakdown of omega-3 and omega-6 have been linked to colon cancer survival.
Foods high in omega-3 include flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds, walnuts, oily fish, seafood, soybeans, and spinach.
The study measured the proportion of enzymes that are responsible for the metabolism of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in tumors in colon cancer patients and compared it with the patient’s survival.
The results showed that a higher proportion of the omega-3 metabolizing enzyme in the omega-6 metabolizing enzyme is associated with less tumor spread and a greater chance of survival for an individual patient.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are believed to have opposite health effects.
This study looked specifically at the enzymes responsible for breaking down omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and their relationship to colon cancer survival.
Professor Graeme Murray, who led the study, said, “There are huge differences in how people survive colon cancer and how they respond to treatment, and we don’t know why some people respond more favorably than others – that’s what this research is about investigates tries to establish itself.
“The molecules or metabolites that are created when omega-3 are broken down prevent the tumor from spreading. We assume that the more enzyme that breaks down omega-3, more omega-3 metabolites are formed, which limits the spread of the tumor.
“The less a tumor has spread, the better the result.
“The reverse is true for the omega-6 metabolizing enzyme – so that a higher proportion of the omega-6 metabolizing enzyme compared to omega-3 could lead to a worse result for the patient.
“Before this study, we didn’t know that there was such a relationship between these enzymes and colon cancer survival.
“Our results are important because they provide a new way of understanding colon cancer survival.”
Macmillan Cancer Support explains colon cancer
Colon cancer diet: Enzymes that break down omega-3 fatty acids can shrink tumors
NHS Choices said that while colon cancer may be asymptomatic and not necessarily make people feel sick. However, experts estimate that more than 90 percent of people with colon cancer will experience symptoms.
This may include a persistent change in bowel habits – going to the bathroom more often, stomach pain, blood in the stool, blood in the stool with no symptoms of piles – hemorrhoids – gas and weight loss.
The NHS offers a screening program for adults who are registered with a GP in England. All men and women aged 60 to 74 years are invited to take an FOB test, which is a test for occult blood in the stool.
The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.
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