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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

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The SCPN

The Scottish Cancer Prevention network is focussed on moving evidence on cancer risk reduction into everyday life, practice and policy.

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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Dry January

Dry January seems like a great opportunity to reflect on our relationship with drinking… but is it just another box to tick? Does the golden ticket to allow a night off make it all a superficial act for a month or can there be real insight? Here is one story from an SCPN friend that set us wondering about what makes us stop and think. Not worth the cheat day!

It is exactly one year ago I woke up in an Airbnb in Paris with an aching hangover and only one working hand. 

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Public health landscape and looking forward with Sheila Duffy

Our final thoughts on Look Forward in 2021 is from Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland (ASHScotland)

Clearly there is much work to be done in changing our public health landscape and working together is key to addressing what lies ahead.

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Professor Anna Campbell MBE is ever inspirational and optimistic. Here are her thoughts on moving forward into 2021.

Who would have thought on Hogmanay 2019 when we all said “Happy New Year” that we would have a year like 2020 and that the expression “I wouldn’t touch him/ her with a 6 foot barge pole” would become a global policy!  Although I missed out on planned trips to Mallorca, San Francisco, Copenhagen and Texas in 2020, this gave me more time and energy (with my lockdown puppy – a cocker spaniel called Beara) to explore the beauty surrounding my home in Perthshire I even ventured further afield on my road bike during lockdown while the roads were empty of cars and did some wild swimming in Loch Garton. Another unexpected highlight of 2020 was being able to quickly set up a clinical trial and service supported by Macmillan and funded by the Lottery to provide online exercise/ nutritional and emotional support for people affected by cancer during COVID19 pandemic.  This SafeFit trial is continuing to recruit participants (anyone with a diagnosis of cancer in the UK) in 2021 who may feel that they would benefit from 6 months of sessions to support them through 2021 – application and info at https://safefit.nhs.uk.  And my plan for 2021?  I aim to put the swimming, cycling and running together and try a triathlon!

Nanette Mutrie MBE of PAHRC gives her thoughts on a better world ahead

Professor Nanette Mutrie MBE is Director of Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) at the University of Edinburgh. She has been a key supporter of the SCPN and reminds us of the many reasons why Physical activity can turn our lives around and impact on planet health.

Could COVID-19 have precipitated actions that might save the world? What a thought! As we experience the reality of social restrictions and economic downturn it is not easy to think that the world could benefit in some way.  Along with that thought must go first and foremost our heartfelt sorrow for the distress and loss of life that the virus has created.  But given the directions to think forward for this blog, this is what happened to my thinking...

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What we CAN do for our wellbeing during the pandemic

Alison Douglas Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland   

Beyond our professional roles we also need to see a way into 2021 that remind us of what we can do (however small) for our sense of wellbeing in this very big and challenging world.

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SCPN’s Annie and Bob look forward to 2021 – WARNING: Contains VERY cute puppy!

Professor Annie Anderson and Professor Bob Steele are the co-directors of the SCPN and Chair and Board member (respectively) of the Scottish Cancer Foundation. As they are married, they share many personal interests, but in addition they work together on many professional activities.

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