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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

Dry Drinking The Sociable Way

Every time I show the slide that says “35% of Scottish women aged over 50 drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week,” I am reminded that this includes me.  I would not describe myself as a heavy drinker, but I do drink more than I know is appropriate for my health. From my research on alcohol intake in women and breast cancer risk, I know that I am not alone in being reluctant to discuss the pleasure of red wine consumption with health professionals.

I certainly drink more than my mother did, and my daughters drink more than I do, so I feel the extra guilt of being a poor role model. To ease my conscience I have joined in dry January for the last 4 years, and ticked a box that says I can do without alcohol for 31 consecutive days. More and more people are joining this January fast, and this year I had the pleasure of a family event where 5 of the 8 guests were alcohol free. Work colleagues also joined in, as did a neighbour and friend…made life so much easier – but also easy to forget from February 1st onwards.

 

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So – I thought I would try extending my dry habits through to the end of February, and that really wasn’t so easy.  It meant not drinking on New Year’s Day, a family weekend in London, Valentines Day, a wine tasting event and three days in France. I can do will power but I want a life!

However, will power alone runs dry pretty quickly in Scotland, where hospitality starts with a glass and ends with a glass. Still astounds me how many health conferences, meetings, receptions have free flowing wine – we really aren’t good at practicing what we preach!

But my extended sobriety this year meant I have had to develop some good strategies, preferably ones I could apply all year round.  So far, March has been pretty good with my new plan of action – here is how I have cut my alcohol intake by half:

  1. Find some good alcohol free beer.

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    It’s worth the effort, and there are now lots to try. I have a (barking) favourite which just happens to be brewed in Scotland.

  2. Mocktails can be fun for those special occasions.

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  3. Search and find good wines sold in half bottles.

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    For years we have always squealed that half bottles are poor value for money but at the end of day the bills and the alcohol consumption are less!

  4. Share good finds with friends and funnily enough, they share back.

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    Suddenly the tables are turned not how much has been drunk but how little, how low the bill, how good the morning after.

When I asked around about dry (or damp) January here are some of the responses:

My dry January did not start until the 14th for a variety of reasons.  I promised myself it would last until the 14th February.  And here I am, a pensioner on a rare treat, a first class train ride from Newcastle back to Dundee, on February 1st, and I am being offered lashings of free wine which, so far, I have managed to resist. 

– Male, aged 65

 

A few mouthfuls of wine get the taste…no need for more

– Female, aged 59

 

And from the money conscious young adult, a screenshot…

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Finally, in February, our SCPN conference had two great sessions about alcohol. Dr Peter Rice from SHAAP http://www.shaap.org.uk/ gave an excellent overview of health and policy issues and a reminder of how there may be unintended consequences from the “sober month” approach about. The second presentation was from Lucy Rocca from Soberistas https://soberistas.com/ – an amazing presentation from an amazing lady and a great organisation.

No box ticking this year… its never enough!

5 Reasons to Celebrate No Smoking Day 

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive, ASH Scotland

No Smoking Day is just around the corner on Tuesday 8 March. But why should your organisation take up the baton to promote it?

Continue reading “5 Reasons to Celebrate No Smoking Day “

Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices

The role of obesity in cancer is too big to ignore.

© World Obesity
© World Obesity

What is agreed is that Scotland needs a bold and brave strategy for tackling obesity. There will be no “one size fits all”. In our blog published on January 1st, we reflected on what has happened in 10 years and where we might progress. This week we are continuing this theme and have asked SCPN friends who have many years experience in the obesity field to give us their top 5 aspirations for the forthcoming obesity strategy?  Continue reading “Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices”

Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices

The role of obesity in cancer is too big to ignore.

© World Obesity
© World Obesity

What is agreed is that Scotland needs a bold and brave strategy for tackling obesity. There will be no “one size fits all”. In our blog published on January 1st, we reflected on what has happened in 10 years and where we might progress. This week we are continuing this theme and have asked SCPN members who have many years experience in the obesity field to give us their top 5 aspirations for the forthcoming obesity strategy?  Continue reading “Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices”

Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices

The role of obesity in cancer is too big to ignore.

© World Obesity
© World Obesity

What is agreed is that Scotland needs a bold and brave strategy for tackling obesity. There will be no “one size fits all”. In our blog published on January 1st, we reflected on what has happened in 10 years and where we might progress. This week we are continuing this theme and have asked SCPN members who have many years experience in the obesity field to give us their top 5 aspirations for the forthcoming obesity strategy?  Continue reading “Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices”

Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices

By Professor Annie Anderson

At the SCPN we take obesity as a risk factor for cancer seriously. Last year I worked with the (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on a new analysis for a forthcoming handbook on body fatness and cancer.

Continue reading “Scotland Obesity strategy – Scottish voices”

If not now? 

We Can : I can … support cancer prevention on World Cancer Day February 4th 2017. Work to stack the odds against cancer occurrence and recurrence must be part of cancer control programmes across the world. Continue reading “If not now? “

#Kettlecise, give it a try…

The gloomy atmosphere caused by the global political and social state of affairs has brought a droop to our shoulders and a crease to our brows. What can we do to lift our spirits? A nice long walk perhaps? Relaxing yoga stretches, a peppy dance move, a refreshing bike ride? We feel better already!

Continue reading “#Kettlecise, give it a try…”

#Smearforsmear Campaign – Pt.III “How smearing your lipstick could encourage more women to attend cervical screening”

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs every January and this year it takes place between the 22nd and the 28th of January. Here at SCPN we’re taking part in the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust #smearforsmear campaign, and we will also be sharing a series of blog posts on highlighting the importance of smear tests in preventing cervical cancer. Our third and final blog post looks at how the #smearforsmear campaign is trying to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and how it is attempting to reach even more women with this potentially life-saving message.

Continue reading “#Smearforsmear Campaign – Pt.III “How smearing your lipstick could encourage more women to attend cervical screening””

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