Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First



Slip sliding away – impact of ’Covid times’ on our diets and consumer trends

It looks like years of advice, promotion, guidance and initiatives about healthy eating and the importance of a healthy diet in the prevention of cancer, diabetes and heart disease might be slipping away from the public stomach! Despite the poor reputation of the nation’s diet there were some small improvements in the years reports prior to 2020. We significantly decreased our intake of sugary drinks (thanks to the governments industry levy) with corresponding reductions in overall sugar intake and also attained some small decreases in salt and saturated fat (see FSS report). Small trends in the right direction, with promise for impact on diet related disease?

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New Term, Self Care September

There is a nostalgia that surrounds this time of year, the start of a #newterm and a change in both the weather and our mindset. The change from summer to autumn brings shorter days, a chill in the air and a crisp feeling below our feet. Autumn means a lot of fun and outdoors activities for me and my son – nature is beautiful this time of year. 

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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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Katie Robb chats 2021 for preventing cancer

In 2020,  many research projects were stalled, paused or stopped. Yet the importance of cancer research on prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, care and quality of life remains as high as ever. Our research communities in Scotland are well placed to support cancer survivorship but they need to flourish and need to be supported in many ways and we are looking forward to seeing new developments

Dr Katie Robb has an excellent track record of research in cancer screening and early diagnosis. In 2018 she won the Scottish Cancer Foundation Prize and Evans Forrest medal for her work on   improving the earlier diagnosis of cancer and reducing inequalities for cancer patients. Looking forward, for her means…

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CMO Gregor Smith looking forwards to 2021

A New Year should always bring inspiration for the months ahead. New Year’s resolutions, Dry January and a time to focus on traditions.

Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland has had a busy, enduring year of figures, stats, debates and more challenges than we care to imagine. But somewhere in those tired dark hours there are some nice looking forward thoughts for sharing:

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Advent – a time for looking forward to healthy, happy days ahead

Appearing now!! Heavily laden advent calenders laced with deep rich sweeties, chocolate, candy, caramels, gum, lollipops, pastilles and praline. Parents, siblings  and grandparents dig deep into pockets to ensure all wee darlings are provided with ‘goodies’ to line tummies, but which also pile on weight and erode growing teeth. Advent is a season when the food industry perfect their marketing techniques to fatten us up and they do it very well! Advent chocolates pave the way for the Christmas feasting of selection boxes, bags of miniatures and giant bars all wrapped up in shiny colours with happy smiling characters.   

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Changes in the cancer landscape – a window to the future?

The latest report from Public Health Scotland on cancer incidence indicates more evidence for the benefits of early diagnosis and improved treatments but also shows upward trends in incidence of several major lifestyle related cancers. It is so easy to point to an ageing population and longer lives as reasons for greater number of cases but we also need to think of lifestyle related cancers that are increasing at a younger age (e.g. colorectal cancer).  It is also notable that the risk of cancer diagnosis is higher in females aged 25 to 59 and higher in males aged over 60.

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A New Normal – Nutrition

As we enter our sixth week of lockdown in Scotland, we are now beginning to get used to our new normal way of living. We all now have new routines; routines that are structuring our days spent at home. Enjoying our time outside is important, with some people starting off their day with a refreshing walk or cycle, some taking up challenges such as Couch to 5k or yoga to wind down in the evenings. All this ‘free’ time for exercise is no doubt beneficial for both our mind and body, but naturally as a Registered Nutritionist my focus always turns to food. 

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Medicine Now – learning for the future

This is a very important contribution from Dr Koula Christou one of our newest doctors. When I was a student in the ‘70s, disease prevention hardly figured at all in the curriculum.  Nothing much has changed, but reading this, it is clear that the current pandemic is an opportunity to emphasise the primacy of prevention to keep the population healthy.  When the current crisis has passed, we will return to focusing on the crisis of preventable cancer, and it would be good to think that the new generation of doctors will put the same energy into this as they are with tackling COVID-19. –  Professor Bob Steele

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