Our Cancer Programs
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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 120
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E. Hickman Road
Waukee, Iowa 50263

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Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th St. SW
Altoona, Iowa 50009

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Urgent Care - Ankeny

3625 N. Ankeny Blvd.
Suite E
Ankeny, Iowa 50023

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Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Ave., Ste. 2
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

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Urgent Care - Lakeview

6000 University Avenue
Suite 101
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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Urgent Care - Merle Hay

4020 Merle Hay Road
Suite 100
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

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Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 SE 14th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50320

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Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, Iowa 50322

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John Stoddard Cancer Center

Our high standard of care comes from decades of research, cancer treatment experience and cancer care technological superiority. As cancer survival rates increase, our team remains focused on providing the most advanced and comprehensive cancer care to our patients.  

John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, continues to lead the way as an Iowa cancer center and has been recognized for its quality cancer care. The John Stoddard Cancer Center is among the top achieving cancer programs in the nation. Please let our team know if you have any questions about the services we provide.

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. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers additional questions below.

How does breast cancer start?

Like all cancers it starts with a mutation in the DNA of breast cells that then grow to become breast cancer. Most mutations are acquired through environmental factors with a small percentage (5-10%) being inherited. 

What are the early signs of breast cancer?

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass, which is most commonly painless but can also be painful. Other signs include: swelling of part or all of the breast, skin dimpling that looks like an orange peel, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, nipple discharge (if not breast feeding) and occasionally swollen lymph nodes in the arm pit. 

Colorectal Cancer


In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed among men and women. An estimated 108,000 new colon cancer cases and 42,000 new rectal cancer cases will be diagnosed each year. Colorectal cancer arises from the cells that line the colon and the rectum. Changes in these cells become a polyp which over time can turn cancerous. The cause of these polyps may be sporadic (random), environmental (diet and lifestyle), or familial (hereditary).

At John Stoddard Cancer Center, we are committed to quality and will be here for you and your family through every step of your battle with colorectal cancer. We use a multidisciplinary team approach bringing together the members of our colorectal treatment team twice a month to discuss the best practice for our patients to help ensure the best outcomes. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage of this disease, our cutting-edge treatments, and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers additional questions below.

What are the early warning signs of colon cancer?

A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or a narrowing of the stools that lasts for more than a few days, rectal bleeding and blood in the stools or black stools. Cramping and abdominal pain, weakness and fatigue and unintended weight loss can be seen with colon cancer but can also be seen with other diseases. Many colon cancers have no symptoms and that is why we have screening tests to detect the cancer when there are no symptoms present. 

How dangerous is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Your risk of dying of colon cancer is dependent on how early you catch and treat the tumor. If your tumor is caught early and localized to the colon over 90% of people survive 5 years or more. If at the time of diagnosis your tumor has spread to other organs (liver or lung most typically), the survival rate of 5+ years is around 15%. 

What is the main cause of colon cancer?

Like all cancers colon cancer starts with mutation in the colon cell causing it to grow uncontrollably. Although an exact cause is not known, there are certain risk factors linked to colon cancer including: smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, heavy alcohol use and diets lacking in plant nutrients. 

What is colon cancer pain like?

Colon cancer pain is usually a crampy-abdominal pain or just abdominal pain in general, although most people with this type of pain will not have colon cancer.

Leukemia/Lymphoma


Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Each year, nearly 27,000 adults and more than 2,000 children in this country learn they have leukemia. To understand leukemia, it is necessary to know what blood is and what it does. Blood is made of fluid called plasma and three types of cells, each with a different function. White blood cells (leukocytes) help the body fight infection and other diseases. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) carry oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and take carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. Platelets (thrombocytes) help form blood clots to control bleeding. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. Normally, blood cells are produced in an orderly, controlled way. When leukemia develops, the body produces large numbers of abnormal blood cells, usually white blood cells.

There are two main types of lymphomas. Hodgkin lymphoma -- also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin disease -- is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it as a new disease in 1832. All other types of lymphoma are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

At the John Stoddard Cancer Center, you can be assured that we will be here for you through every step of your battle against leukemia and lymphoma. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage this disease, our cutting-edge treatments, and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers specific questions below.

What is the first sign of leukemia?

There is no one first sign of leukemia and signs of leukemia depend somewhat on whether it is an acute leukemia or a chronic leukemia. Signs of acute leukemia include feeling tired, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, fever, night sweats, bone and joint pain, easy bruising and bleeding, shortness of breath, frequent and persistent infections and petechiae (small red spots on the skin). Swollen lymph nodes may also be present, particularly in chronic leukemia cases.

Can leukemia be cured?

Some acute leukemia cases can be cured with treatment. Chronic leukemia cases are unlikely to be cured but treatments can control the cancer and help manage symptoms while extending life expectancy. 

 What is the life expectancy of a person with leukemia?

This all depends on the type of leukemia. The percentage of people surviving five or more years with leukemia varies between 28% for acute myelogenous leukemia to 85% for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 

Does leukemia come on suddenly?

Acute leukemia cases are the most rapidly progressing cancers we know of. The white blood cells grow very quickly, over a matter of days to weeks. Most solid cancers take months and years to develop.

Lung Cancer

 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2011, more than 221,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer and approximately 157,000 Americans will die from lung cancer. Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. The two main types are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These types are diagnosed based on how the cells look under a microscope. The majority of those diagnosed have a direct correlation with smoking, which increases a person's risk of getting the disease by eight times. According to the National Cancer Institute, risk factors for lung cancer include tobacco smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke, exposure to radon, asbestos and other substances, air pollution, and a personal or family history of lung cancer.

At John Stoddard Cancer Center, we are committed to caring for patients with lung cancer and will be here for you and your family every step of the way. We use a multidisciplinary team approach bringing together many different specialties to discuss the best practice for our patients to help ensure the best outcomes. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage of this disease, our cutting-edge treatments, and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers questions regarding lung cancer below.

What are the first signs of lung cancer?

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are a cough that does not go away or gets worse, coughing up blood or rust colored sputum, chest pain that worsens with deep breath and hoarseness. Unexplained weight loss, weakness and loss of appetite can also be seen later in the course of the disease. 

How does lung cancer start?

As with all cancers it starts with a mutation in the DNA of cells in the lungs leading to growth of a tumor. The main risk factor for developing lung cancer is tobacco use. 

How long can you live after being diagnosed with lung cancer?

The answer to this depends on the type of lung cancer (non-small cell vs. small cell) and how early it is detected. The most common type is non-small cell lung cancer and if it is detected early (meaning the tumor is small and confined to the lung) survival for five or more years can be as high as 90%, whereas if the tumor has spread to other organs, the chance of living 5 or more years is around 6%. 

How bad is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and worldwide. Most lung cancers are diagnosed when they have spread either within the chest or outside the chest and at that point they are less treatable.

Pancreatic Cancer

 

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the United States as well as around the world. This disease cuts across all racial and socio-economic barriers and is nearly always fatal. Because of the features and location of the pancreas, roughly 60 percent of time the disease has already spread when it's diagnosed. This means that surgery, the only hope of a cure, is not an option. Annually nearly 30,000 Americans will die from pancreatic cancer.

At the John Stoddard Cancer Center, we will be here for you through every step of your battle with pancreatic cancer. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage of this disease, our cutting-edge treatments, and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers some complex questions regarding pancreatic cancer below.

How long does a person live with pancreatic cancer?

Pancreas cancer is one of the most deadly cancers. Survival depends on spread of the tumor. When the tumor is confined just to the pancreas about 35% of people will live five years while if it extends outside the pancreas or to other organs five-year survival is 3-12%. 

What are the early warning signs of pancreatic cancer?

Pancreas cancer does not have early warning signs. By the time pancreas cancer does cause symptoms it has grown or spread outside the pancreas. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin), dark urine, light colored stools, persistent itchy skin, upper abdominal or back pain, weight loss or poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, new onset of diabetes and unexplained blood clots. 

What is the #1 cause of pancreatic cancer?

There is no number one cause of pancreas cancer. Risk factors for pancreas cancer include smoking, being overweight/obesity and diabetes.

Prostate Cancer

 

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the United States other than skin cancer. It may remain in the prostate gland, or it may spread to nearby lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may also spread to the bones, bladder, rectum and other organs. At the John Stoddard Cancer Center, known that we will be here for you through every step of your battle against prostate cancer. Using our extensive experience dealing with every stage of this disease, our cutting-edge treatments, and vast resources, we will do everything we can to help. Dr. Andrew Nish, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center answers additional questions below.

How do you get prostate cancer?

As with all cancers there is no single definitive cause for prostate cancer. The major risk factor for prostate cancer is age. Prostate cancer develops more often in African-American men compared with Caucasian men. Obesity does not seem to increase the overall risk of prostate cancer but may increase the risk of more aggressive prostate cancer in younger men. 

What are the 5 warning signs of prostate cancer?

Problems urinating with slow or weak urinary streams and/or the need to urinate more often, painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, blood in the urine or seamen, difficulty getting an erection, pain in the hips, back or chest or other areas when the cancer has spread to the bones. 

Can prostate cancer kill you?

Prostate cancer can kill you when it has spread to other areas of the body. However, when the tumor is confined to the gland, the five-year survival approaches 100%.  

What is the survival rate for prostate cancer?

This depends on how advanced the cancer is. For cancer confined to the gland or the local pelvic tissues around the gland five-year survival (how many men will be alive five years after diagnosis and treatment) approaches 100%. When the cancer has progressed to involve other organs (bone being most common) the five-year survival rate decreases to around 30%.

John Stoddard Cancer Center Overview


In 1991, the John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, opened at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. It was the first cancer center in central Iowa to house all radiation oncology and ancillary services in one location. The new facility centralized all outpatient oncology services in one area while conveniently locating them by the inpatient services offered at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. This progressive concept was a result of our long-standing commitment to meet the changing needs of the patients and families we serve.

Prior to the Stoddard Cancer Center opening, Iowa's first pediatric cancer center opened at Blank Children's Hospital in 1987, concentrating all phases of pediatric cancer diagnosis and treatment in one unique area.