Cancer Support Groups | John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines
UnityPoint Health - John Stoddard Cancer Center

Cancer Support Groups

The John Stoddard Cancer Center offers many support services to patients and families who wish to share their feelings with others who will understand. Here is a look at cancer support groups available in the Des Moines, IA, area. 

Blood Cancer Family Support Group

For adult patients with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, myeloma or myelodysplastic syndromes and their family and friends. The group meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 5:15 p.m. in the suite 450 conference room of Stoddard. For information, call (515) 241-8505.

Caregiver Support Group

For caregivers, this group will be a blend of open discussion as well as educational information to help with practical advice and guidance from both healthcare professionals and other caregivers. The group meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from 1:30-2:30 in Powell 3 Adult Oncology Unit. For information call (515) 241-4248 or (515) 241-8505.

Colorectal Cancer Support Group

For patients and their family members and friends. The group meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. in suite 590 at Stoddard. Throughout the year, each member of the Stoddard colorectal cancer multidisciplinary team will speak to the group. For information, call (515) 241-4344.

Prostate Cancer Support Group

A national support group for prostate cancer survivors and their families that offers information, counseling and educational meetings. The group meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the suite 450 conference room at Stoddard. For information, call (515) 241-4231.

Support for People with Oral, Head & Neck Cancer (SPOHNC)

For anyone who has a diagnosis of oral, head or neck cancer. This group is open to patients that are newly diagnosed, currently getting treatment, have completed treatment or at any stage in their cancer journey and to their family members. The group meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the suite 450 conference room at Stoddard. For information, call (515) 241-3399.

Advanced or Recurrent Cancer Support Group

For anyone whose cancer has progressed to Stage IV. The group meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the suite 450 conference room at Stoddard. For information, call (515) 241-4344.

Gynecologic Cancer Support Group

This support group is open to persons with ovarian or any type of gynecological cancer and survivors as well as their families and friends. The group meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the suite 450 conference room at Stoddard. For more information, call (515) 241-4231.

Life Beyond Breast Cancer

A support group for those who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer. The group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Suite 450 conference room of Stoddard. For information, call (515) 241-4248.

Coffee and Conversation for Adolescents and Young Adults:

For adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patients, survivors, and family. This support group brings AYAs together for conversations, guidance, and understanding every 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Children's Cancer Connection (1221 Center St., Suite 12). Food and beverages are provided. For more information, call (515) 241-4251 or (515) 868-0977. You can also join our Facebook group, Cancer Connection: Adolescent and Young Adult Program.

Patient Education

Patient Education is available for all new cancer patients and their families, as well as those currently undergoing treatment. Our Oncology Nurse Navigators will teach you what you should know about cancer and what to expect during and after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. You will also receive information on support services/community resources available to patients and families. Our goal is to reduce anxiety and increase knowledge as patients are starting treatment. For information call (515) 241-3343.

Individual Consultations

What's On Your Mind?

A group or individual counseling program for people with cancer and/or families. Patients/family members are welcome to come to group counseling or may set up individual appointments. For information on meeting dates and locations, call (515) 241-4280.

Look Good...Feel Better

Designed for people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Wigs, turbans, and makeup tips are available. For more information on individual counseling, call (515) 241-4243. For a schedule of group classes visit

Reach to Recovery

A visitation program for women with a personal concern about breast cancer. For more information, call the American Cancer Society toll-free at 1-800-ACS-2345.

Support Groups - Other Facilities

Ostomy Support Group

This support group is open to persons with ostomies as well as their family and friends. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the Younker-1 conference room at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. For more information, call (515) 241-8070.

Additional Services

Family Resource Library

Information available regarding cancer and community resources-videos, audiocassettes, books, and brochures. The library is located on the first floor of Blank Children's Hospital and is open daily from      10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information, call (515) 241-5308.

Survivorship Program

Survivorship Interview

This session is offered to cancer survivors who have completed cancer therapy and are now looking forward to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life beyond cancer. The interview is a one time visit with an oncology certified nurse who will review with you what treatments you received and their long-term side effects, your care plan for health promotion and maintenance, and review with you any concerns that you have now that you are done with therapy that affects your quality of life (i.e., financial concerns, emotional concerns, nutritional concerns). Physicians can refer patients who have completed treatment or cancer survivors can request a survivorship interview by calling (515) 241-3343.

If you do not want an interview, you may instead call to have your treatment summary/care plan mailed to you.

Live Well at the Y

This program promotes the participation of cancer survivors in exercise and wellness activities. We have partnered with the YMCA to offer a 12-week free membership to YMCA's in the Des Moines area.  Any cancer survivor interested in the 12-week program will need to have a physician's referral to begin. Please talk with your oncologist if you are interested in learning more about this program.