HEALTH promotion officer for NHS Shetland Rachel Stewart has recently won two national awards for her work in smoking cessation.
Rachel won the Great No-Smoking Day Challenge Organiser of the Year award 2008, which she collected in Glasgow last week from the National No Smoking Day Team.
The award was won for the best activity on a small budget which judges deemed to be the COPE shop window which displayed a no smoking poster complete with smoke rings.
Also last week, Rachel came runner-up in a competition jointly organised by the Daily Record and Scottish government in the NHS Healthy Lifestyle category in the Scottish Health Awards 2008.
This was for the idea of promoting a no smoking message by sponsoring the under-12 Shetland football team. The boys had NHS Shetland Smoke Free Team on their shirts and they signed a pledge not to smoke.
At a ceremony attended by MSPs Nicola Sturgeon and Shona Robison and hosted by TV presenter Jackie Bird, Rachel was awarded £400 towards a project of her choice, which she said she may put towards a DVD for young people or a carbon monoxide monitor for pregnant women and young people.
Rachel was delighted to receive the award and said: “At the end of the day I was just doing my job and to get an award was lovely, but it was about working as a team with my colleagues and the boys from the football team, the first no smoking team in Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Mouth Cancer Awareness Week starts tomorrow, and during next week dentists around the isles are offering a free screening service.
Anyone with concerns about oral health is invited to go along to the drop-in service, whether they are registered with a dentist or not.
“If in doubt – get checked out” is again the theme for this years campaign, with emphasis on the importance of early detection and treatment being of vital importance. This considerably increases survival chances, allows for simpler treatments and results in a better quality of life for sufferers.
Mabel Gilfillan of oral health promotion, NHS Shetland, said: “Smoking is the most common cause of mouth cancer and although much less documented, drinking alcohol to excess poses almost as big a risk as smoking when it comes to mouth cancer. “People who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the condition. Although the majority of cases occur in over 50s, there has been an increase in mouth cancer in younger people in recent years.”
The main signs to look out for are:
- Red or white or speckled patches;
- Ulcers which don’t heal up within 2-3 weeks;
- Consistent throat hoarseness or mouth pain;
- Difficulty in swallowing.
These signs or symptoms may not necessarily be mouth cancer but they should be checked out.
For more information contact oral health promotion on (01595) 743000 ext 3164/3237.
• Montfield Dental Clinic: Mon November 17th, 5-6pm, and Thur November 20th, 4-5pm.
• Brae Dental Clinic: Wed November 19th, 5-6pm.
• Mid Yell Dental Clinic: Mon November 17th, 5-7pm.
• Alan Owen & Associates: Sat November 22nd, 10.30am-12pm.
• People wishing to be seen in Whalsay can contact Symbister Dental Clinic on Wednesday November 19th or Friday November 21st.