Search

SCPNBlog

Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

Advent – a time for looking forward to healthy, happy days ahead

Appearing now!! Heavily laden advent calenders laced with deep rich sweeties, chocolate, candy, caramels, gum, lollipops, pastilles and praline. Parents, siblings  and grandparents dig deep into pockets to ensure all wee darlings are provided with ‘goodies’ to line tummies, but which also pile on weight and erode growing teeth. Advent is a season when the food industry perfect their marketing techniques to fatten us up and they do it very well! Advent chocolates pave the way for the Christmas feasting of selection boxes, bags of miniatures and giant bars all wrapped up in shiny colours with happy smiling characters.   

In the past, the five weeks before Christmas was associated with several days of fasting thus providing even more reason to welcome Christmas warmth and cheer. This advent we are all somewhat jaded with news of health and ill health and finding ways to brighten the world are much need. For many people trying something different at advent is challenging but there are some lovely creative ideas around to help us move away from the cultural expectation of sugary shots. 

In a world where you can be anything… be kind 😊

  1. Cottonball Countdown for Christmas

This crafty idea needs only paper, pen, cottonballs and glue. During each day of advent, stick a cottonball onto Santa’s chin and watch his beard grow! By Christmas Eve Santa will have a full beard, and be ready to get on with his busy evening ahead!

2. Pop the kettle on – Countdown to Christmas with tea

Plum spice, apple and cinnamon, cranberry, winter berry… who doesn’t like tea? Tea advents are a healthy, and arguably more tasty alternative to chocolate – perfect for those who enjoy cosying up with a warm mug of herbal happiness. 

Image credit: Pinterest claireabellemakes 

3. Brighten up each day

Try an advent candle rather than an advent calendar and fill your home with a warm winter glow. It’s something all the family can enjoy, ‘whose turn is it to light the candle today?’

4. The Reverse advent calendar

We have been seeing an increase in the popularity of the Giving/Reverse advent calendar. Foodbank have a great one we have shared here, but feel free to take inspiration and make your own or create for a loved one.

Photo credit: Foodbank.org

5. One for the wee ones

Advent is exciting and magical for little people. Create a personalised calendar for them to enjoy… whether that is a particular toy, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle or a scavenger hunt – HAVE FUN

Need more ideas… don’t forget to look at our ideas for an #alternativeadvent SCPNadvent

STOP, Swap and GO!

Autumn – the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – a season for reflection and preparation for the winter ahead.

October – the month to Stoptober, Go Sober and look out for #scpnswaptober

There is never a wrong time to quit smoking, reduce or quit alcohol and make changes for a healthy lifestyle. October is as good as any month to reflect and review, and this year there are even more reasons to do everything we can to build our resistance to illness. Lots going on with the Nation’s emotional and mental wellbeing, but being able to make one important change (whether it is stop or a modest swop) provides an opportunity to remember we do still have some control in our lives. 

Continue reading “STOP, Swap and GO!”

Emergency food assistance during the COVID-19 lockdown period

Many people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis received emergency food parcels from the government for the many weeks of lockdown. A recent survey of shielding experience undertaken by Public Health Scotland reported that 7% of respondents said they were struggling to access food that met their needs. Food provides much to our lives not limited just to nutrients. Professor Geraldine McNeill from The University of Edinburgh who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and a second breast cancer in 2010 provides some wider perspectives on food provision.

Continue reading “Emergency food assistance during the COVID-19 lockdown period”

Little changes form better habits

Chats in the Zoom office this week, inspired by Kellie Anderson’s blog on personal prevention strategies sparked sharing of our own little changes we might have made for the better against all the strange WFH/Lockdown/Covid odds.

Annie S. Anderson, SCPN Co-director

It started with the lockdown garage clear out where we discovered our mothers’ old tea sets. Memories of teacups and saucers from our childhood homes which were saved in glass cabinets and taken out only for special visitors (e.g. the minister or visiting aunts from Canada). 

Continue reading “Little changes form better habits”

Personal prevention strategies : the overlap of Covid-19 and cancer

By Kellie Anderson, MSc

As we slide into the crunchy-leaved depths of September, Covid-19 remains our daily reality. So much so that perhaps some of us are thinking of our lives in terms of BC and DC – Before-Covid and During-Covid. 

This may or may not be a melodramatic assessment of our situation. Only time will tell.

During this unique and rather anxious time many of us have embraced helpful health behaviours, hoping to circumvent our risk of the more acute – and evolving – aspects of the virus. 

Occasional walkers turned into determined hill walkers; smokers quit in droves (at least the under-30s); and an increased number of us were more likely to be cooking, and paying attention to our diet

Continue reading “Personal prevention strategies : the overlap of Covid-19 and cancer”

You can have your vitamin D and eat it

With autumn fast approaching and holidaying to our favourite sunny destinations on hold, many of us won’t be having a couple of weeks of ‘guaranteed sunshine’ by the sea, opting instead for staycations within Scotland. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and has been in the news a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to concerns about time spent indoors during lockdown months. The Scottish Government recently issued revised guidance on vitamin D for all age groups, advising everyone (including children) to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D. There is some confusion amongst the public with regard to vitamin D intakes, with evidence of Scots being unaware of the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements and uncertainty of which supplements to take.  

Continue reading “You can have your vitamin D and eat it”

The causes of cancer: implications for policy and practice

Professor Richard Martin, University of Bristol

Around 1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime (Cancer Research UK). Over 40% of cancers are linked to a combination of 14 major lifestyle and environmental factors that are potentially preventable. The Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme (ICEP) uses cutting edge statistical methods and genetic data on 10s to 100s of thousands of people to provide high quality evidence on: the causes of cancers; factors influencing the progression of cancer; new ways to predict who will develop or die from these cancers; and new ways to prevent cancer and its progression. 

Continue reading “The causes of cancer: implications for policy and practice”

Breastfeeding support during a pandemic #WBW2020

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and whilst this year the focus is supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet…. here we are amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. So for many, this time without face-to-face support has been an extremely difficult one. New mothers navigating a world of breastfeeding alone can be terribly isolating, it is a world which requires friends, peer support, family and in some cases specialists to establish a feeding routine. 

Continue reading “Breastfeeding support during a pandemic #WBW2020”

Netflix and Spin

I remember the feeling I had when I took my bike selfie below – it was the first time I had been on a bike ride for years … and I felt brilliant! The rain poured, the wind blew and my Raynaud’s stricken fingers were chalk white… but I reached my destination, and surprisingly I had 11 kilometres of fun along the way (and 11 kilometres of fun on my way home too!)

Continue reading “Netflix and Spin”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: