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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older. There is a higher risk for people of African-American descent, those who smoke, or people with a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

Statistics from show that there were 424 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Shelby County from 1973-2008. That averages out to be 12 people per year in our county alone. The best prevention method for colorectal cancer is to get regular screenings starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer. If caught in the early stages, colorectal cancer is very treatable, which makes screening a very important part of your personal health care plan.

Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get regular screening for those over 50 years of age.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.

To schedule a screening, please contact your primary care provider at Myrtue Medical Clinic by calling 712.755.5130. For more information on this topic or other health promotion strategies, please contact Shelby County Public Health by calling 712-755-4423.


As 10 Million Baby Boomers Develop Alzheimer’s,
Early Detection of the Disease Becomes Critical to Future Planning

(Harlan, IA) – Current data suggests that because of the increasing number of people age 65 and older in the United States, the annual number of new cases of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to double by the year 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters workshops provide attendees with information about the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease, the benefits of early detection, as well as tips for attendees who may be concerned about themselves or a loved one.

“Here in Iowa, we have the third highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America,” said Marsha Williams, Program and Event Coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Iowa Chapter. “Those that attend these workshops learn that if they receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, there are things families can do together to plan for the future and work towards receiving the best help and care possible.”


The Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit or call 800.272.3900.

Governor Terry Branstad is declaring January as “Radon Action Month” in Iowa

Radon III images (3)The state of Iowa is believed to have the largest percentage of homes in the U.S. with radon levels above “acceptable” range. That’s why experts are encouraging Iowans to test their homes.
Radon test kits are inexpensive and available at the Shelby County Environmental Health Office. The cost is $8.00. Please contact Terri Daringer, Director of Environmental Health to purchase a radon test kit at 712-755-2609.

Update Your Emergency Preparedness Plan

New ImageAs you make your New Year’s resolutions, now is the perfect time to also think about updating your preparedness plans.

  • If you do not have an emergency plan, develop one. If you do, review and update it. Is all of your emergency contacts information current? Do your evacuation routes still work?
  • Think about your go-kit. Do you need to replace old batteries? Have the kids outgrown clothes that you had packed in it? Does your flashlight work?
  • Is there anyone new with whom you need to share your plans? Do you have a new neighbor, or babysitter?
  • Practice your plan. This will help you to remember the plan, as well as find areas for improvement.
  • Remember to stay informed. Be aware of approaching weather and pay attention to warnings that are issued. Register for Alert Iowa at to receive notifications.
  • Remember your neighbors. Will they need help evacuating or preparing for inclement weather?
  • Resolve to volunteer. Register at I-SERV at to join Iowa’s list of volunteers willing to pitch in when needed.

Here are some helpful resources: and

Holiday Safety Tips for Families

The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure children have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) brought to you by Shelby County Public Health and Learning for Life.

  1. Take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parent or caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn how to handle stress better, too.
  2. Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas from “mindfulness” as a strategy to balance the hustle and bustle of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the holiday season.
  3. Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays. It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed.
  4. Try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child’s usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays.
  5. Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are — time to enjoy with your family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors, and friends.

The Learning for Life program offers a home visitation program for families with children from prenatal through age 5. The curriculum used is the Parents as Teachers model, which helps parents, prepare their children for learning and school entry. Major funding for this program is provided by Harrison/Monona/Shelby Early Childhood Iowa.

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