Flaxseed-fed chickens shed light on ovarian cancer
It has been recently discovered that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreases severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.
Janice Bahr, a professor emerita in the U of I Department of Animal Sciences said "In hens fed flaxseed, we found that more tumors were confined to the ovary and they had less metastatic spread,".
She added "This is an important finding as the metastases that accompany late-stage ovarian cancer are the main cause of death from this disease. If the cancer is found at an early stage, when the tumor is still confined to the ovary, women have a much better prognosis and more treatment options."
2-year-old laying hens (hens that have ovulated as many times as a woman entering menopause) were submitted to the clinical trial, since "The chicken is the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer on the surface of the ovaries like humans" according to Professor Bahr.
It is thought that inflammation associated with continuous ovulation leaves ovarian surface epithelial cells susceptible to malignant transformation. The observation that egg-laying domestic hens frequently develop ovarian cancer supports this hypothesis.
According to Bahr, 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and 15,000 die. The incidences of death in other cancers have dropped recently, but ovarian cancer death rates have remained the same.
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