Ireland and Scotland are neighbours who have many cultural and population similarities: native Celtic language, the unique similar national sports of hurling and shinty, the need to always pack an umbrella and a battle to reduce rising cancer incidence due to modifiable risk factors.
The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) have long standing links with the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network (SCPN) and introduced the Irish National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) to the SCPN, growing a cancer risk reduction neighbourhood. The NCCP and the SCPN are neighbours getting to know each other which can provide immense benefits to reducing cancer risk for both our nations.
Learning from each other
The SCPN recently travelled to Dublin to meet stakeholders with an interest in cancer prevention in Ireland. Learning from the actions undertaken by the SCPN a similar approach could meet the aims of the NCCP by bringing a collaborative and focused approach to cancer prevention in Ireland, facilitating peer learning and supporting national and local cancer risk reduction initiatives. Likewise a workshop held after the presentation stimulated new ideas for the SCPN.
Ireland’s cancer risk reduction function won’t be borrowing a cup of sugar from the SCPN but may borrow “Dougal the dog” for a walk to promote physical activity to reduce cancer risk in Ireland.
The actions to reduce cancer risk for individuals, such as eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains requires support from your neighbour. If you are trying to eat healthy and your neighbour calls over with freshly picked strawberries or a box of chocolate, which is the support you are looking for? Creating the link between the SCPN and the NCCP provides a platform to support each other in our endeavours to support and empower cancer risk reduction for our populations.
Over the coming time we hope the link between Ireland and Scotland cancer risk reduction endeavours are strengthened, to learn and support each other. The Irish cancer risk reduction neighbourhood is strengthening, the SCPN were welcomed to the NCCP by the Irish Cancer Society, Marie Keating and Breakthrough Cancer Research, a community coming together.
“Take care of your neighbours and the world will look after itself” is an age old saying that has a depth that extends to world of cancer risk reduction.