Up to 29% of cases of the UK’s 13 most common cancers could be prevented each year, by following recommendations on diet, nutrition, physical activity and body fatness alone. Add in smoking, alcohol, UV-exposure, breastfeeding and radiation - and that number becomes even greater.
Despite the increasing body of evidence for cancer risk reduction, and the fact that cancer incidence in Scotland is projected to increase by 34.1% in men and 32.9% in women between 2008-12 and 2023-27,  public awareness of the links between lifestyle and cancer risk is relatively low, and the need for public health action in this area is crucial.
Every one of us from individuals to government has a role to play in decreasing cancer incidence, helping to detect cancer early through engaging in cancer screening programmes and improving the prognosis of people with a cancer diagnosis. Supporting the most vulnerable communities to make lifestyle changes and empowering health professionals to facilitate positive health behaviours are key aspects of the SCPN’s mission. There is much work to be done and strong leadership is needed in Scotland to turn around the projected increase in cancer incidence.
For this reason, we look to Scotland’s artists and designers to think about new ways to communicate the links between lifestyle and cancer risk, encourage cancer screening uptake and support others to make positive health choices. Our annual £250 prize seeks entries in any medium, which involve behaviours which are identified as impacting on our risk of developing cancer.
- World Cancer Research Fund. (2015) ‘Updated estimates of cancer preventability (PAF%) by appropriate diet, nutrition, physical activity, and body fatness in four countries’. Available at: http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/preventability-estimates/cancer-preventability-estimates-diet-nutrition (Accessed: 9 February 2017).
- Information Services Division, NHS National Services Scotland. (2015) ‘Cancer Incidence Projections for Scotland 2013-2027’. Available at: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Cancer-Statistics/Incidence-Projections/ (Accessed: 9 February 2017).