Measurement of fish consumption in population-based studies of cancer

Kym Mina

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] The role of fish consumption and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the prevention of disease has been the subject of much investigation in recent years. A clue that these factors might be of importance was the observation that populations consuming high levels of marine omega-3 PUFAs had lower rates of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. From there, research in this area has expanded to include a range of chronic diseases and their prevention. An area of particular interest is the role of fish consumption in the prevention of various cancers. In Australia, one in three men and one in four women are expected to be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 75. Identifying preventive factors that can be translated into constructive health promotional messages is of great importance in addressing this group of diseases that has such a large impact on the health and wellbeing of the population. ... Results and conclusions Analysis of the data from the population-based case-control study suggests a protective effect of preserved fish consumption, possibly due to the high oil content of these fish. The developed questionnaire is a valid and reliable tool for measuring fish and seafood consumption as determined by regression analysis with an independent biomarker and reliability analysis using intra-class correlation. Importantly, reliability can be maintained despite asking a high level of detail from participants. For ranking according to overall fish consumption, detailed questioning is probably not necessary, however inclusion of variables representing multiple categories of fish and seafood consumption in a regression model enables us to better account for variation in blood omega-3 PUFA levels than a single variable representing overall consumption. For the purpose of questionnaire validation, plasma phospholipid and erythrocyte membrane levels of EPA and DHA are equivalent biomarkers of fish and seafood consumption. The choice between them by future investigators will be based on more practical aspects such as convenience and the fasting state of subjects. The tangible product of this thesis is additional evidence to support a protective association between fish consumption and prostate and breast cancers, and a valid and reliable questionnaire v for measuring habitual consumption of fish and seafood in a West Australian population, that could also be applied to other populations after minor adjustment for local fish and seafood consumption patterns.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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