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.
Once again we are nearing the end of the year, and here at the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, we’ve invited our members, colleagues and regular SCPN Newsletter contributors to recommend what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2016. We’ve asked each of them to recommend one paper which they thought would be valuable to share. This week our second instalment comes to us courtesy of Prof James Garden of Edinburgh University, we hope you enjoy.
Title: Pancreatic Cancer
Once again December is upon us, and here at the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, we’ve invited our members, colleagues and regular SCPN Newsletter contributors to recommend what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2016. We asked each of them for one paper which they thought would be valuable to share and so kicking us off is Nicola Barnstable, Diane Primrose & The Detect Cancer Early Team, we hope you enjoy.
Title: Tipping The Scales: Why Preventing Obesity Makes Economic Sense
The relationship between obesity and cancer has been well described…and well ignored! Exposure to excess body fat will contribute to increased risk of some of the most common cancers including bowel and breast. Yet, few agencies working in the cancer settings (including the NHS) bring this to the attention of the millions of people who are in contact with healthcare every day. Many think it is a duty of care for people to be given advice on how to “stack the odds” against cancer occurrence (and recurrence) and that we deny people the opportunity to be supported to reduce cancer risk.
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!”
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.
The current recommendations for health, wellbeing and cancer risk reduction highlight the importance of physical activity. Sometimes people mistakenly refer to exercise when they mean physical activity, and therein lies the potential for a whole load of biased views, often stemming from negative experiences of sports and exercise in schooldays.
More than two thousand years ago Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, noted that if we all had “the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”. In general, all too few of us are following Hippocrates’ advice today.
In cancer terms, we know that 4 in 10 cancer cases in the UK could be prevented largely by changes to lifestyle. In this blog post I’ll be looking at one of these changes: being physically active. Continue reading “Cutting Cancer Cases – Ready Steady Go!”
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from cancer experts . Here’s the next instalment from Dr Aileen Keel CBE.
I’d like to see greater public awareness of what individuals can do to reduce their personal risk of bowel cancer. Of course, an important part of that is taking part in the bowel screening programme.