Governor Reynolds signed three Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) proclamations Friday, March 8 and each addresses an important public health issue. The proclamations bring attention to brain injury, colorectal cancer and problem gambling.
Falls, motor vehicle crashes and sports injuries are the leading causes of traumatic brain injury in Iowa. More than 17,000 Iowans receive medical attention for brain injuries each year, yet brain injury is often described as a “silent epidemic” because brain injuries are not always visible to others. More than 95,000 Iowans live with long-term disability from a brain injury. During Brain Injury Awareness month, Iowans are encouraged to learn the symptoms of brain injury and find helpful resources at https://www.idph.iowa.gov/brain-injuries.
March is also Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Colorectal (colon) cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Iowa, and is also the most preventable; however, 7 out of 10 people with colon cancer have no symptoms. This is why screening is so important. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if caught early. The five-year survival rate for colon cancer, when found early, is 90 percent. IDPH encourages all Iowans age 50 or older to talk to their health care provider about scheduling a screening. In addition, Iowans younger than 50 with a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer should be screened. To learn more about colorectal cancer, its signs, symptoms and risk factors, visit https://www.idph.iowa.gov/igs.
A third proclamation will highlight Problem Gambling Awareness month. For most people, gambling is recreational; however, for some people, gambling leads to serious problems. Problem gambling means participation in any form of gambling activity that creates one or more negative consequences to the gambler, their family or loved ones, employer or community. Thirteen percent of adult Iowans say they have experienced a problem related to their gambling. IDPH offers assistance to the gambler, as well as the family members and concerned persons of the gambler. To learn more about the signs of problem gambling, and to access support and assistance by live chat, phone or text, visit https://yourlifeiowa.org/gambling.