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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

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Uterine Cancer

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.

Continue reading “World Cancer Day 2021 – Time to think again”

The power of prevention – stacking the odds in favour of a longer disease-free life

What would you give for an extra ten years of healthy life? A recent BMJ study showed that sticking to just five healthy habits in middle age – not smoking, regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and limiting alcohol – can earn you an extra ten years of disease free life. This is especially significant given that we are all living longer – but often that longer life is accompanied by one or more chronic health conditions.

Continue reading “The power of prevention – stacking the odds in favour of a longer disease-free life”

Breastfeeding reduces risk of breast and other female cancers and has other benefits for women

IMG_0808In Scotland, this is national breastfeeding week- a celebration of what has been achieved but also a call to reflect on how we might do better. With colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Dundee and other experts across the UK, I am a signatory to a statement calling for a change in the culture to provide all women with the right support, at the right time, in the right place to initiate and maintain breastfeeding. And yes… breastfeeding is relevant to a cancer prevention network.

ECAC BF

The European Code Against Cancer recommends:

“Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s cancer risk. If you can, breastfeed your baby”.

The background review paper reports:

  • Protective effect against breast cancer at all ages
    • 2% reduction per 5 months breastfeeding
    • The longer breastfeeding is continued the better
    • Exclusive BF impacts on ER- and ER+ cancers
  • Modest protective effect against ovarian and endometrial cancer

Breastfeeding_and_Breast_Cancer_Risk

And there is more ….

Breast feeding is associated with

  • More rapid return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Lower incidence of the metabolic syndrome for mother (and decrease risk of type 2 diabetes)
  • Lower body weight in later life

Artboard 1

Everyone knows about the nutritional benefits of breast milk and the amazing immunological benefits but the long term effects (largely associated with reduced exposure to oestrogens) should not be forgotten.

Supporting our daughters and granddaughters to appreciate the lifelong effects of breast feeding must be central to women’s health which is why we call for education for children, through to support from health professionals as a key part of health for all.

Professor Annie S. Anderson

Avoiding excess body fatness makes sense!

The recent IARC report on cancer prevention concludes that the absence of body fatness lowers cancer risk, and that intentional weight loss (based largely on research from animal studies) has a causal cancer preventive effect. Never too late to start weight management strategies…or indeed too early. Continue reading “Avoiding excess body fatness makes sense!”

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