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Eating fish could prevent premature death in breast cancer patients – US study reports

Victoria, Seychelles | October 22, 2015, Thursday @ 09:58 in National » HEALTH | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2554
Eating fish could prevent premature death in breast cancer patients – US study reports

Fish is considered to be high in protein and researchers have also deducted many health benefits from eating fish. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles News Agency)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - Living in the Seychelles, an island country surrounded by an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that covers a vast 1.3 million square kilometres of ocean, one cannot avoid eating fish if not daily at least every week. Although this is done because fish is readily available there are many health benefits derived from it as many researchers worldwide have confirmed.

According to research published in the journal ‘Cancer in July this year, a survey conducted in the U.S has shown that eating fish has the possibility of increasing survival in women with breast cancer.  

Researchers doing the survey with around 1,400 women with breast cancer found out that participants with a high level of fish in their diet were nearly a third less likely to die prematurely, says the study entitled “Dietary intake of fish, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and survival after breast cancer.”

Another similar study reported in the British Medical Journal in 2013 also said that eating a certain portion of fish per week is associated to a 14 percent reduction in breast cancer.

Being an island nation, fish is the main source of protein for people in Seychelles. According to a US-based research published in July this year, eating fish has the possibility of increasing survival in women with breast cancer. (Romano Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

No specific research has been done in the island nation to record the importance of fish as part of the diet in relation to cancer. However, a survey on non-communicable disease in 2013-2014 by the Seychelles Ministry of Health, showed that 25 percent of the respondents said they eat fish on a daily basis and 75 percent said five to six times per week.

Even if fish is part of the staple diet in the Seychelles, with a population of around 93,000, around 20 percent of deaths are cancer related making it the second main causes of death in the country, after cardiovascular diseases. While prostate cancer is the most common among men, breast cancer is at the most common in women and is the predominant one in young people.

According to the island nation's health ministry's statistics, last year, there were 211 new cases of cancer and 125 cancer related deaths recorded in the country.

Cancer is a disease affecting people in countries all over the world and in 2012 it was considered one of the main causes of death; 8.2 million deaths, by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The organisation says that new cancer cases will reach 15 million by 2020 and 70 percent will occur in developing countries with over a million in the African region.

With cancer being a worldwide concern, WHO in 2013 set up a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2013-2020 to reduce deaths caused prematurely by cancer among others by 25 percent in 2025.

Photo 1: People buying fish at the main market in the Seychelles capital of Victoria. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles News Agency). Photo 2: Fresh fish brought in by fishermen on the Seychelles second most populated island of Praslin. (Romano Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

In line with the WHO initiative, the island nation has also taken measures to address cancer concern locally. In October 1995, a Cancer Concern Association was set up with a mission to work alongside the Seychelles health ministry and other local partners. The main aim is to create awareness about the disease as well as provide support to cancer patients and their family members. 

Although cancer awareness activities are carried out throughout the year to educate the islanders, October is seen as the month devoted to the disease with a series of activities especially to raise awareness and educate people on the main factors contributing to the increased incidence of cancer and how to live a healthier lifestyle.

One of the activities which attracts an important number of people especially women is a beach walk for breast cancer, where people wear pink as they walk along Beau Vallon beach, one of the most popular stretch of beach in the northern region of the main island of Mahe.

This year the 'Beach Walk for Breast Cancer' will be held on October 28. 

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Tags: Cancer Concern Association, cancer, health, fish, breast cancer

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