Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First



Malcolm Chisholm looks forward to the good things to come in 2021 and beyond

Today’s blog is from @MalcolmChisholm1, one of the directors at the Scottish Cancer Foundation. Malcolm is also known to many as previous MP for Edinburgh Leith and also Minister for Health in the Scottish Parliament at the start of the 21st Century His commitment to all health matters and cancer related issues remains a key part of his current work (and leisure activities!)

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Professor Susan Moug, colorectal surgeon shares some of her looking forward thoughts

NHS staff in all their many roles have been a key part of our survival in 2020. Whatever profession and what ever tasks have been needed we have seen the benefits of their work. Cancer diagnosis, treatments and care may have been reduced but new ways of working have also emerged and can provide helpful ways approach the challenges that 2021 will bring.

Professor Susan Moug, colorectal surgeon from Paisley shares some of her looking forward thoughts:

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Emergency food assistance during the COVID-19 lockdown period

Many people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis received emergency food parcels from the government for the many weeks of lockdown. A recent survey of shielding experience undertaken by Public Health Scotland reported that 7% of respondents said they were struggling to access food that met their needs. Food provides much to our lives not limited just to nutrients. Professor Geraldine McNeill from The University of Edinburgh who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and a second breast cancer in 2010 provides some wider perspectives on food provision.

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Little changes form better habits

Chats in the Zoom office this week, inspired by Kellie Anderson’s blog on personal prevention strategies sparked sharing of our own little changes we might have made for the better against all the strange WFH/Lockdown/Covid odds.

Annie S. Anderson, SCPN Co-director

It started with the lockdown garage clear out where we discovered our mothers’ old tea sets. Memories of teacups and saucers from our childhood homes which were saved in glass cabinets and taken out only for special visitors (e.g. the minister or visiting aunts from Canada). 

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Personal prevention strategies : the overlap of Covid-19 and cancer

By Kellie Anderson, MSc

As we slide into the crunchy-leaved depths of September, Covid-19 remains our daily reality. So much so that perhaps some of us are thinking of our lives in terms of BC and DC – Before-Covid and During-Covid. 

This may or may not be a melodramatic assessment of our situation. Only time will tell.

During this unique and rather anxious time many of us have embraced helpful health behaviours, hoping to circumvent our risk of the more acute – and evolving – aspects of the virus. 

Occasional walkers turned into determined hill walkers; smokers quit in droves (at least the under-30s); and an increased number of us were more likely to be cooking, and paying attention to our diet

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You can have your vitamin D and eat it

With autumn fast approaching and holidaying to our favourite sunny destinations on hold, many of us won’t be having a couple of weeks of ‘guaranteed sunshine’ by the sea, opting instead for staycations within Scotland. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and has been in the news a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to concerns about time spent indoors during lockdown months. The Scottish Government recently issued revised guidance on vitamin D for all age groups, advising everyone (including children) to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D. There is some confusion amongst the public with regard to vitamin D intakes, with evidence of Scots being unaware of the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements and uncertainty of which supplements to take.  

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Breastfeeding support during a pandemic #WBW2020

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and whilst this year the focus is supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet…. here we are amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. So for many, this time without face-to-face support has been an extremely difficult one. New mothers navigating a world of breastfeeding alone can be terribly isolating, it is a world which requires friends, peer support, family and in some cases specialists to establish a feeding routine. 

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Netflix and Spin

I remember the feeling I had when I took my bike selfie below – it was the first time I had been on a bike ride for years … and I felt brilliant! The rain poured, the wind blew and my Raynaud’s stricken fingers were chalk white… but I reached my destination, and surprisingly I had 11 kilometres of fun along the way (and 11 kilometres of fun on my way home too!)

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Covid, Cancer and Caring

So many things to worry about. Never has the threat of disease been more scary. Covid-19 itself takes over as our biggest fear, but the anxiety about cancer risks, symptoms and the pause on screening all add to the reasons why so many people worry and find it hard to take up lifestyle challenges.

Supporting the NHS in all its work is core to the health and well being of all of us. We know that the more actions we take to prevent or self-manage a disease the less we need to call upon the NHS. Although we know this,  it doesn’t mean we always do the “right things”. Many of our actions are related to low “headspace” where our minds are suffocated by the challenges of the day and finding our normal sane thinking space has gone. During the last few months I think we have all been there, experiencing times when we have been overtaken by that feeling of the unbelievable being real, the need to touch and see our best friends and fears about the future.

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