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#ScaledownCancer: How Cancer Research UK is challenging obesity in Scotland

Scotland’s Weight

Normal weight is no longer normal. In Scotland, more people are overweight or obese than a healthy weight. The impact of this on our nation’s health and well-being now and into the future is not easily overstated. And general understanding and awareness of this problem has certainly shifted in the past couple of years, which is always a good start. At Cancer Research UK we have a particular interest. If you don’t smoke, then maintaining a healthy weight is most important thing you can do to stack your odds against cancer. Overweight and obesity is linked to 13 cancers and it’s now a top priority for us.

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Our obesogenic, carcinogenic environment – a legacy for our children

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.

Continue reading “Our obesogenic, carcinogenic environment – a legacy for our children”

Attention to Action

Every day the evidence grows. Every day we learn more about how obesity affects our health. Every day the media give this issue attention. But is this translating into action?

The recent report from IARC reaffirms the significant health consequences associated with excess weight.  We need to take action now to reduce future cancer incidence.

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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – What can we do to reduce our personal risk of bowel cancer?

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.

Continue reading “Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – What can we do to reduce our personal risk of bowel cancer?”

Diet and Cancer: The New Traditional and the #HealthyShelfie

I have been struggling with my concept of the “traditional Scottish diet” in terms of meeting The European Cancer Code guidelines for diet advice:

  • Plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits.
  • Limited high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat). Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid processed meat; limit red meat and foods high in salt.

My understanding of traditional means the foods that can be grown and produced in the country and prepared using long established methods of cooking. In Scottish terms the following items would be a great starting basis for planning healthy eating – with some seasonal variation:

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More than just knowledge – social influences, support structures and personal action

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.

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Sugar, Calories and Cancer

The only good news about sugar is that people are now talking about it loudly, often and with one voice. There is one clear message which says lets decrease our sugar intake. As far as we aware there are no DIRECT effects of sugar consumption on the development of cancer development but what about indirect effects?

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Why Soup on Saturdays?

There is strong evidence that people can reduce their risk of cancer, by adopting healthy dietary and activity behaviours. Current estimates suggest that around one third of cancers could be prevented by adhering to current guidance. A recent European study1 reported that people who adhered best to WCRF guidance (that is, had the full dose of what is recommended) had a 34% lower hazard of death than those who followed only a small dose (one or two recommendations).

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