April 22/The Express -- Eating oily fish could help prevent cancer of the esophagus, according to new research.

Throat cancer is linked to smoking and drinking and often follows a condition called Barrett's esophagus, an irritation of the lining of the gullet or food pipe.

Now scientists at the Institute of Food Research have found that patients suffering from Barrett's esophagus who, over a six-month period, took supplements of the omega-3 fatty acid -- found in oily fish such as mackerel or salmon -- significantly decreased their levels of an enzyme associated with throat cancer.

Professor Ian Johnson of the Institute of Food Research said, "Our results provide a good reason for further studies into the anticancer effects of fish oils."

Esophageal cancer rates are increasing faster than any other malignancy. The prognosis for patients is poor as it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage.

From the April 28, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash