Prairie Faith Health Ministry News

Walking alongside individuals to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs,

by connecting and/or creating healthy resources for their lives.



  April health observances include “Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week”

Head and neck cancer accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the United States. This year, an estimated 65,410 people (48,000 men and 17,410 women) will develop head and neck cancer. While younger people can develop the disease, most people are older than 50 when they are diagnosed.  

What causes cancers of the head and neck?Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, sometimes called “chewing tobacco” or “snuff”) are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers, especially cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx. At least 75% of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone. Infection with cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV), especially HPV type 16, is a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers that involve the tonsils or the base of the tongue.

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancers? The symptoms of head and neck cancers may include a lump or a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty in swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious conditions. It is important to check with a doctor or dentist about any of these symptoms.

Symptoms that may affect specific areas of the head and neck include the following:

  • Oral cavity. A white or red patch on the gums, the tongue, or the lining of the mouth; a swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable; and unusual bleeding or pain in the mouth.
  • Pharynx. Trouble breathing or speaking; pain when swallowing; pain in the neck or the throat that does not go away; frequent headaches, pain, or ringing in the ears; or trouble hearing.

  • Larynx. Pain when swallowing or ear pain.
  • Paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity. Sinuses that are blocked and do not clear; chronic sinus infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics; bleeding through the nose; frequent headaches, swelling or other trouble with the eyes; pain in the upper teeth; or problems with dentures.
  • Salivary glands. Swelling under the chin or around the jawbone, numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face, or pain in the face, the chin, or the neck that does not go away.


Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment of these types of cancers.

(Source of information: Head and Neck Cancer Alliance )

  For information and support to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco, consider the resources at

 Your parish nurse is available to support your healthy lifestyle choices, accompany you to your doctor’s appointment, or visit with you to help you understand a diagnosis or health care plan.



Dispose of your medications safely!

Law enforcement agencies often have a prescription drug take back day in April.  Some of our PFSM communities’ law enforcement agencies participate, and some do not; in WaKeeney, you can drop off on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Watch your local newspapers to see updates from your local police or sheriff department. The Hays Walgreens pharmacy has a drop-off station year-round. Another option is to use a Deterra medication disposal bag to get rid of your expired or no-longer-needed pills. The bags deactivate drugs easily, effectively, safely and quickly so that you can dispose of them in your household trash. Free Deterra bags will be available at the PFSM combined service on April 28th at St. John, or you can stop by the church office, call 785-743-2005 or email any time to obtain one.



The Pastors will bless new prayer shawls at the PFSM Joint Service at St. John on Sunday, April 28, 2019


 There is an ongoing need for prayer shawls and blankets, and you are invited to share in the ministry through sewing, knitting, crocheting or financial contributions. If you have a shawl or blanket completed, you may bring it by the PFSM office any time, or you may bring it to worship that day.   A prayer shawl is a tangible gift representing the many and continuing prayers for comfort, caring, healing and love offered for an individual experiencing serious illness, grief, loss, emotional trials or spiritual upheaval in their lives. If you know of someone in your community who might be comforted by receiving one, please contact Nancy.  Many thanks to those of you who have shared your gifts and talents to comfort others! 


But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. -  1 Corinthians 1:27


All of us have weaknesses and limitations—emotional, spiritual or physical. These characteristics are there for a reason. God’s best work is accomplished using weak, broken, and wounded people to transform communities into forces that can accomplish great things. The core of our Christian life is not what we can offer God but what God can accomplish through us.  Regardless of how imperfect we may be, God does not call the qualified; God qualifies those who are called. When Jesus calls his disciples, some cannot stay awake as Jesus prays, and others argue over who will be the greatest. With this band of misfit disciples, Christ builds his church. As we continue this work as Jesus’ disciples, we too can be used—even with all of our flaws and limitations—to the glory of God and for the love of God’s people. Thanks be to God!   


                    MOVING FORWARD: What weakness in your life has God used for good?

(Source: Forward Day by Day, author The Reverend Glenice Robinson-Como)




Lord, take me where You want me to go;

Let me meet who You want me to meet;

Tell me what You want me to say;

And keep me out of Your way.

                  Fr. Mychal F. Judge, O.F.M. 5/11/33--9/11/01

Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, was an Irish-American Franciscan & chaplain to the New York Fire Department. He was the first listed casualty of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in 2001. He prayed this prayer daily; it was a guide to his approach to his pastoral ministry, a ministry rich in life-giving compassion.)



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