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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Ankeny)

1055 Southwest Oralabor Road
Ankeny, IA 50023

Current Estimated Wait:
2 hr 4 min

UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Current Estimated Wait:
2 hr 50 min

UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E Hickman Rd
Waukee, IA 50263

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 23 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th Street Southwest
Altoona, IA 50009

Current Estimated Wait:
2 hr 4 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ankeny Medical Park

3625 North Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023

Current Estimated Wait:
3 hr 22 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

Current Estimated Wait:
1 hr 40 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320

Current Estimated Wait:
2 hr 37 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

Current Estimated Wait:
5 hr 9 min

Lutathera Treatment Now Available for Cancer Patients in Central Iowa


Sara Palmer, 76, sits in a recliner in a treatment room at John Stoddard Cancer Center, an IV in each arm. She laughs with the nurses, discussing weekend plans and that pesky vein that’s being difficult today. A simple observer would never guess that she’s about to become radioactive.


Palmer, a retired Presbyterian minister, has a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas, a very specific type of cancer that makes her the perfect candidate for a new treatment option at Stoddard called Lutathera (lutetium Lu-177 dotatate). Lutathera is comprised of a targeting molecule that binds to specific receptors on her tumor that allow radioactive particles to kill the tumor cells; the treatment enters her body through the IV in her left arm. Palmer is also infused with amino acids to protect her kidneys during treatment, which enter her body through the IV in her right arm.


John Stoddard Cancer Center is the only Central Iowa location for patients like Palmer to receive Lutathera treatment. The only other location in Iowa is at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City. A resident of Chariton, Palmer drives herself to Des Moines and back home every eight weeks for a total of four treatments. The drive is about an hour, and each treatment lasts 5 hours, which means Palmer can fit the treatment and travel time both directions all in one day. Palmer happens to have a friend who has the same type of cancer and drives more than twice as far and has to stay overnight in a hotel to receive her Lutathera treatment. "Having this treatment option close by has made life so much easier for me," says Palmer.


Palmer is only the second person to receive the Lutathera treatment at Stoddard Cancer Center and hasn’t had many adverse reactions. But that doesn’t mean she’s a stranger to cancer. In 2013, she had surgery to remove a tumor near her kidney. Nine years later, battling cancer again, she finds herself at the forefront of this new type of cancer treatment, which includes strict instructions to stay six feet away from people for a full three days after treatment due to the radioactive material in her body. Regardless of the precautions, Palmer is grateful for being part of something new and innovative. “Being in on the first steps of something means taking things slowly,” says Palmer. “I’m not good at going slow!”


Walking with her on this cancer journey, however slow it may be, are the dedicated team members at Stoddard Cancer Center. “I find the nursing staff is a lot of fun,” says Palmer. “Sometimes I think they’re a bunch of worry warts, but I really couldn’t ask for more. They take such good care of me.”


For more information about the programs and treatment options at John Stoddard Cancer Center, visit us online at