How are you doing?… We are probably all feeling more stressed than usual. As SeeMe, the mental health campaign, says: it’s okay to not be okay. These are truly difficult times. Like me, you may have lost someone you know to the virus, missed sharing a special occasion with family, or maybe finding it difficult to adjust to living within the confines of your home. Perhaps you are a key worker, keeping the country going with essential supplies, bravery and care. All of us need to take good care of ourselves and those around us, and to find ways of managing these new, intense pressures.Continue reading “Drinking during lockdown? – Alcohol and Coronavirus”
Somewhere in a busy life, someone says ‘try something new’. The someone is me, telling myself ‘Slow down, look around at what you see and think hard about what the next decade could bring – do life differently’.Continue reading “Reflections on 31 days of a new decade – one drink at a time”
I think most of us are aware by now that alcohol is harmful, in fact a survey in 2013 showed that 84% of Scots thought alcohol causes either a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a lot of harm in Scotland.’ They’re correct to think this, however what may be less well known is the link between alcohol and cancer. Alcohol is carcinogenic, which means it causes cancer and in 2015 more than one in four alcohol related deaths were from cancer in Scotland. It is important to understand that no amount of alcohol is ‘safe’ and no type of alcohol is better or worse than another. Additionally drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer whether you drink it all in one go or a bit at a time. Therefore for cancer prevention it’s best not to drink any alcohol. Continue reading “Save Water, Drink Kombucha”
The American publication ‘Nutrition Action’’s most recent article highlights issues about women and alcohol by George Koob (Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health), Walter Willet (chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health) and Regina Ziegler (of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics at the National Cancer Institute).
Every time I show the slide that says “35% of Scottish women aged over 50 drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week,” I am reminded that this includes me. I would not describe myself as a heavy drinker, but I do drink more than I know is appropriate for my health. From my research on alcohol intake in women and breast cancer risk, I know that I am not alone in being reluctant to discuss the pleasure of red wine consumption with health professionals.
We are very grateful to an SCPN member, now an independent researcher, for sharing this very personal but hopeful account of her struggle to overcome her problem drinking.
I am now in control of my drinking. It feels good to say that, yet somewhat uneasy, as it’s never a ‘done deal’. I started drinking at 18, and it has taken me 16 years to get to a place where I can say that without an inkling of guilt, without wincing at the odd indiscretion or blow out.
I started drinking heavily at University. I went to the University of Sussex, near Brighton, which is an amazing place to be a student! There were several on-campus bars, and there was one literally 30 paces from my shared accommodation. It was great to get to know new people, and the cheap snakebites were a great conversation facilitator. It was acceptable to go every evening after dinner; there was no judgement. It helped us bond at a time when that felt so monumentally important for all that lay ahead of us.
Everyone knows of an ‘Auntie Jean’. She is the older woman, who liked a good drink, hearty meals, and big puddings and specialises in spectator sport (with feet up in front of the telly). She scores 0 for lifestyle actions for reducing cancer risk. Not a second thought to worrying about health (“the doctor never said I was doing anything wrong“), lived well over the three score years and ten, and dropped dead one day without bothering a soul.
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from cancer experts. Here’s the next instalment from Professor Annie S. Anderson.
I would like the public to know that getting bowel cancer is not about bad luck and fate.
I am an avid twitter user, I am also a dietitian, I work in cancer services and I am employed by the NHS.
As a dietitian I work quite differently from a number of other health care professionals. My job is not to do things to people; it is to do things with people. In other words I pass on my knowledge and expertise, and then I encourage people to utilise it in a way that enables them to help themselves.