Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center recently reported that supplementing the diet with soybean oil significantly reduces fatigue in breast cancer survivors.1  Although a pilot trial, these new findings suggest soybean oil may function as a treatment for this common condition.

The study offers new hope for patients suffering from cancer-related fatigue (CRF), which is marked by severe exhaustion, cognitive deficits including memory loss, reduced psychosocial well-being, and inability to maintain social activities.2 In most cases, CRF resolves within about 6 months following treatment, but for about one-third of cancer patients, fatigue can last for five to ten years.3,4

CRF is well characterized but its etiology is not fully understood. However, evidence suggests that inflammation is an important contributing factor.5 With this background in mind, Peppone and colleagues set out to determine whether fish oil supplements, which had previously been shown to reduce inflammation in cancer patients6 could reduce CRF in breast cancer survivors.1