Conference Catch Up November 2022

HCCN conference at Bradbury House 25th November 2022

This was our first time holding the conference at our new “home” and I think all agreed that it was a success! Including the speakers and volunteers, 45 people attended for the day, which was all focused on diet and health.

We began with coffee and chat, then an introduction and welcome by Jan Davis our chair lady.

Professor Amanda CrossOur first speaker, Professor Amanda Cross, is a doctor and epidemiologist from Imperial College,  London. She told us all about her research into the causes of cancer relating to diet, with the emphasis on bowel cancer. She explained how difficult it is to get properly controlled samples as most of the work relies on questionnaires and people get bored after a few pages!

Also it is very hard to standardise the replies as one person’s idea of the volume of a glass of wine can be twice someone else’s!

However, they are gradually accumulating data that confirms what a healthy diet for minimising the risks of bowel cancer should be. It is no surprise that plenty of fresh fruit and veggies are good for you but the increased risks associated with eating lots of red meat are not so well known.

It was very interesting to see that people who moved from one country to another and changed their eating habits, soon acquired the same cancer risks as the people already living in that country.

After a refreshment break we then split into 3 breakout groups.

Lynn Reader HCCN reflexologistLynn Reader, our HCCN reflexologist told us all about the beginnings of the discipline and the theory of how our bodies are arranged around meridian lines that run right from the soles of the feet up to the rest of the body. She then demonstrated simple DIY reflexology techniques that we could do at home on ourselves or with a partner and everyone tried them out, finding them very  effective.

Jackie Bland from Pure TurtleJackie Bland from “Pure Turtle” (the name comes from the image of a large turtle swimming serenely thro the sea with ease and grace contrasting with the way it struggles heavily to move on land). Jackie took us through relaxing techniques designed to enable us to get into that state just before you fall asleep when the brain is receptive to introducing new ideas for change. This enables us to get rid of old bad habits and optimise our sense of well-being in order to cope best with whatever is our current state of health. We were all  so very “chilled” by the end of the session!

Michelle Chester nutritionistMichelle Chester, a nutritionist, told us all about ways to improve our diets which were full of practical tips to make the changes easier and more likely to succeed.

Matt Riley local chefAfter this we had a delicious healthy lunch prepared by a local chef, Matt Riley – the emphasis being on vegetarian, and very tasty food with no processed ingredients and a fresh fruit pudding.

Professor Robert Thomas patron of HCCNOur second main speaker was Professor Robert Thomas, a patron of HCCN and always a popular speaker. He updated us on lots of recent research into diet and cancer. The message agreed with all the info from the other speakers saying that plenty of fruit and veg, especially berries containing the protective polyphenols were very desirable. High sugar levels in the diet, processed meats and high levels of alcohol were all responsible for a higher incidence of cancer.

NB – both Prof Cross and Prof Thomas’s slides will be available on the HCCN website.

After Prof Thomas and a tea break, the breakout groups were repeated so that people had a chance to attend two out of the three.

Jan then drew the proceedings of a successful day to a close and the helpers and trustees cleared up !

Gill Monsell
HCCN Trustee and conference coordinator