UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Cancer

Every year, cancer affects the lives of millions of women in America. A woman can reduce her cancer risk by knowing what her risks are, adopting a healthy lifestyle and learning about the cancer screening tests available to her.

John Stoddard Cancer Center is a Midwest leader in cancer care and provides a number of programs to women to help them understand their risk, have access to important screenings and to provide the supported needed before, during and after cancer treatment.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. It is the second leading cause of cancer death for all women, and the leading overall cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. However, when breast cancers are discovered at an early stage, the five-year survival rate after treatment is 96 percent. Mammography is the best form of early detection. Learn more about this screening tool and mammgraphy clinics in central Iowa. 

Lung Cancer

More women in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke. You can also reduce your risk of lung cancer by avoiding other people's smoke and testing your home for radon gas.

Colorectal Cancer

The third leading cause of cancer deaths in American women is colorectal cancer. Screening tests, like a colonoscopy, can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. Everyone should be tested for colorectal cancer regularly starting at age 50 and earlier with a family history.

Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic oncology is a specialized field of medicine that focuses on cancers of the female reproductive system, including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, and vulvar cancer. Woman can take certain steps to prevent some of these cancers.

  • Pap tests can find abnormal cells that may turn into cervical cancer. Removal of the abnormal cells prevents cervical cancer. Pap tests can also find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is available for girls and women who are 9 to 26 years old. The HPV vaccine protects against most types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer.
  • In addition to the Pap test, the HPV test may be used for screening women who are 30 years old or older, or at any age for those who have unclear Pap test results.