At WCRF we fund research into cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity. We then turn this evidence into practical, straightforward advice and information to help anyone who wants to reduce their risk of developing cancer. But we don’t just talk the talk; we are encouraged to lead by example, especially when in the office.
Ask people what they think about workplace cake and you discover it’s a contentious issue. My research surveyed nearly 1000 UK office workers (see previous SCPN blog) and found that office cake changed people’s eating behaviour and made workplaces less healthy (1-3). But while 31% of respondents reported it led to weight gain and 37% said it made it hard to eat healthily at work, 81% said it brings people together and 83% said it cheers people up. So how do we make sense of these opposing ideas? Is there a way to harness the morale-boosting capabilities while minimising the health consequences? I think so. But we need to think differently.
I’m now over half a year into my first full time job and I’ve been thinking back to that very first day back in September when I was presented with an adjustable standing desk. I was rather shocked, this was not the office environment I had been expecting! Friends had told me about their workplace, sitting all day, cakes and biscuits galore, chip shop lunches and I thought that sounded great. So I was reluctant to fully embrace the idea of a ‘healthy worksite’ but my attitude quickly changed once I saw my step count was abysmally low!
Faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT) are now used in asymptomatic bowel screening programmes and also in assessment of patients presenting with lower bowel symptoms. FIT specimen collection devices have a stick attached to the cap of the tube: this stick has dimples or grooves near the end to collect the correct amount of faeces. Our instructions are simple, namely, “dip the end of the stick into your poo” and “scrape the end of the stick along the sample”, and have pictures of exactly what sample is required. However, many seem surprised at how little faeces is collected, only 2 mg in the FIT used in Scotland for both clinical purposes. Interestingly, some assume that more must be better and do try very hard to give a little (or a lot) extra in the device! To date, very little attention has been paid to this aspect of FIT. Recently, however, a very relevant paper has been published.1
The Scottish Bowel Screening programme is over ten years old. Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce systematic screening for bowel cancer and the first in the UK to offer testing to people aged 50. Lots of lessons have been learned along the way including how to improve the screening test and uptake.
Here are some reflections on current screening from Professor Bob Steele….
There are an estimated 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, a figure that is projected to rise to 4 million by 2030.1
Physical activity can benefit patients at all stages of the cancer care pathway. Keeping active can improve survival rates, help maintain quality of life, improve sleep, have mental health benefits, reduce fatigue and risk of falls.2 In some cases, being physically active has been shown to slow disease progression, improve survival and reduce the chance of recurrence.3 Continue reading “MOVE MORE, Scotland”
Alcohol is everywhere. Whether we want to drink or not we are surrounded by constant prompts that alcohol should be part of our life, and never more so when it comes to celebrations and gift giving. Continue reading “New Year – new ideas #Dontpinkmydrink”
Note from the Editor
Increasingly, communities are recognising the value of gardening as a route for increasing physical activity, getting fresh air, distraction from life’s challenges, social interaction and taking positive action towards a more plant based diet. Several trials1,2 are now underway on the benefits of gardening for cancer survivors as well as the general population. The North of Scotland may seem inhospitable to all year round gardening but where there is a will there is clearly a way …. Continue reading “A community Polycrub scheme”
Sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes get a lot of media coverage. This is in part because they are building momentum globally – to date, 45 jurisdictions around the world have implemented an SSB tax and 42% of these have been put in place since 1 January 2017 – and also because they face strong opposition. Governments seeking to implement an SSB tax need to be ready to defend the design of their tax against this opposition. Continue reading “Building momentum: lessons on implementing a robust sugar sweetened beverage tax”