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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

Walking from home

I’ve now officially been working from home for 15 months. Like many people, initially I embraced the extra free time that working from home gave me; during the first lockdown my activity levels were the best they had ever been. I was spinning each morning as a mock commute, following online yoga classes and using resistance bands to grow stronger. But winter came and with that my mood and motivation plummeted. I’d been stuck in a very big sedentary rut since January – starting the year off in another lockdown is not what my mental health needed. Averaging around 4,000 steps per day I knew I needed to re-calibrate.

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Ready for Re-Entry?

If I asked you how you’re feeling about returning to normal life post-Covid, would you say that you can’t wait or that you’re feeling a bit apprehensive? 

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Taking care of our whole health #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek is important for us all right now. Winter lockdown has been TOUGH, there is no denying. With some Covid restrictions still in place it is pretty ‘normal’ to be feeling isolated. With the easing of full lockdown, suddenly having a lot more freedom can feel overwhelming.

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Celebrating Gardening week

During last years lockdown, more people than ever before started gardening and here we are in spring again, ready for planting. Gardening provides a great break from indoor work or sitting too long, amazing relief for the mind and life’s stresses, and that was before the Coronavirus outbreak. Gardening really has been a huge benefit during hard times. Breathe deep and enjoy!

As a celebration of #Gardeningweek, here are some of the tasks that can be enjoyed. Even a few minutes invested can result in lots of joy as plants grow or produce amazing vegetables. Move towards your five a day to help reduce cancer risk and personally I don’t think anything ever tastes better than home grown!! 

Annie S. Anderson.

Some great suggestions from SCPN friend Wendy McCombes from Coupar Angus (and other local growers)

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Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines #WorldImmunizationWeek

For most, vaccines are a welcome addition to routine care, but for some they are perceived as dangerous and threatening.  In this blog, we hope to illustrate how vaccines contribute to the health of the population and we will start with their role in cancer control.  The human papilloma virus (HPV) is now recognised as the principle causative factor in cancer of the cervix, anus and oropharynx (mouth and throat).  Because this virus is an infective agent that raises antibodies, its effects can be prevented by vaccination, and thanks to the development of an effective vaccine by Ian Frazer and his group in Australia the virtual eradication of these cancers is now a possibility.  In the UK, all girls and now boys aged 12 to 13 in school year 8 are offered HPV vaccination.  With high adherence to this programme, it is anticipated that cervical screening will eventually become unnecessary and that suffering from a HPV related cancer will become a thing of the past.  However, for this aspiration to be realised, is essential that this protection is extended to the vast majority of the population.

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Easing back to normality

Dr Elaine Cameron, University of Stirling

The Scottish Government has indicated that soon we will be able to visit shops, go to the gym, enjoy libraries and museums, and even meet friends from other households for a meal in a restaurant, with more changes to follow as summer arrives. While this is unquestionably something to look forward to after months of restrictions limiting our day-to-day activities, for many of us this is also a source of acute anxiety. Reasons for feeling stressed or worried will be different for everyone, but it’s important to note that feeling anxious is a normal response to this big shift in our lives. 

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Dear Mum… #lookaftermum

Health has been centre stage for the past year.  I feel perhaps like many others, I have done a full 360o in terms of my mindset and mental health. When the pandemic hit and Scotland announced its first lockdown we were all a bit shook as to the speed of the sweeping deadly virus Covid-19. The uncertainty and powerlessness of the situation led my mood to spiral and I began comfort eating for the FIRST time in my life. How did I not notice? Emotional eating wasn’t a typical habit of mine. The whole world seemed to have gone to pot. Nothing was normal. I couldn’t see my family. I couldn’t see my friends. Everyone seemed to become really busy. My little boy was growing up fast and I couldn’t share this with anyone. In hindsight I guess I used food as a source of comfort in a time I felt unable to cope. Single parenting a toddler, with no respite, during a pandemic has certainly been tough.

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Happy (socially distanced) Valentines 2021

Living well in the time of COVID-19 isn’t always easy. Recent stats suggest alcohol intake has increased and it doesn’t look like calorie intake has gone down either. It isn’t difficult to understand – we all need some comforts and warmth in these dark winter, homebound days. As the grey skies of February loom over us, many of us are looking forward to the next special date in the diary, February 14th, St. Valentine’s day. Amidst a global pandemic, it might look a little different this year.

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World Cancer Day 2021 – Time to think again

COVID-19

The global pandemic has been dominating the world of Scottish public health, primary care and acute medicine for the past year. We have watched the daily, weekly and monthly figures of cases, hospital admissions and deaths of the millions whose lives have sadly been affected or lost to Covid-19.

There are, on the other hand, many other worries and statistics that have always got less air time. Concerns about cancer diagnosis (especially delayed screening), treatments and recovery may have been severely impacted on many of thousands of people in Scotland during the pandemic, but the details do not regularly appear on our television screens. It is interesting to give thought to what might happen if we did receive daily reminders.

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