UnityPoint Health - John Stoddard Cancer Center
Today's Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Hours and Directions
Hours of Operation
- Monday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Thursday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
UnityPoint Health – John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, is among the top achieving cancer programs in the nation and has been recognized for its quality cancer care. Our high standard of care comes from decades of research, cancer treatment experience and cancer care technological superiority. John Stoddard Cancer Center is an accredited cancer center by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), a program of the American College of Surgeons. CoC accreditation demonstrates a commitment to providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home.
Stoddard Cancer Center has been recognized as an accredited breast cancer center by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) since 2014. Receiving care at a cancer center accredited by the NAPBC means you gain access to a full range of state-of-the-art cancer care services, clinical trials and a multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best cancer treatment options.
Leading Cancer Care
In 1991, John Stoddard Cancer Center 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.
Today, Stoddard Cancer Center remains at the forefront of cancer care in Iowa, with one of the most technologically advanced and diverse radiation oncology departments in the Midwest. Patients and their families have access to a wide range of services that were created to provide them with the care they need before, during and after cancer treatment.
- Multidisciplinary cancer committee
- Weekly tumor board conferences
- Oncology research and clinical trials
- Lymphedema center
- Oncology Navigators
- Support groups
- Cancer education classes
- Survivorship program
- Genetic Counseling
- On-site EMPOWER Boutique and Salon
We are committed to providing the best quality cancer care and treatment options available.
- Radiation Oncology & Brachytherapy Center
- Surgical Oncology
- Pediatric Oncology
- Lymphedema Center
- Interventional Oncology
- Cancer Rehabilitation
- Adult Oncology Inpatient Unit at Iowa Methodist Medical Center
The Stoddard Adult Oncology Inpatient Unit is located on the third floor of the Powell wing at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. An interdisciplinary, holistic and family-centered approach is central to our care delivery. The unit has many unique features and was designed with the patient and family in mind.
- Flat screen televisions and DVD/VCR combination players
- A couch that convert to a bed for families to sleep
- Lighted handrails for patient's safety
- A private chapel on the unit
- An extensive library of books, videos, CDs and brochures.
- A healing garden and patio, with a water fountain and special lighting that illuminates the walkway for night viewing
- Family laundry and shower area for families who choose to stay with their loved one
- Sound reduction cupboards and drawers
- Relational care and healing support from a large group of hospital volunteers
- Milton P. Riepe solarium where patients and their families can relax and visit
Our philosophy of family-centered cancer care allows us to wrap all of our modern cancer treatment technology into an atmosphere that reflects the importance of having family and friends involved in the treatment process.
Additional Specialty and Support Services
Adolescents and young adults with cancer typically do not receive as much attention as children and older adults, but about 89,000 AYAs are diagnosed each year. That is why Stoddard Cancer Center and Blank Children's Hospital developed the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program. As the first of its kind in Iowa, this innovative program is designed to better address the unique needs of cancer patients between the ages of 15 and 39 and improve their survival rates.
- Child Life
- Clinical research
- Fertility education
- Genetic testing
- Nutritional assessment and education
- Social Work/Case Management
- Support groups
- Survivorship program
For more information, call (515) 241-4251.
Staff is available to identify individual patient needs, such as facilitation of discharge planning, including transfers to home or other healthcare options. The case manager will provide counsel and support to patients and families and link them with the most appropriate community resources.
A case manager can also facilitate and coordinate issues such as Medical and General Power of Attorney, Advanced Directives-Living Wills, Guardianship, and Conservatorship. Additionally, he or she can assist patients, families, caregivers, and hospital personnel with decision making about ethical issues and initiate referrals to the bio-ethics committee as needed.
After diagnosis, cancer patients are routinely treated using conventional medicine. Beyond these vital treatments, we believe complementary evidence-based services can help relieve symptoms and side-effects as well as improve the efficacy of conventional treatments. This is the foundation of the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program. Alongside conventional medicine, there is great power in complementary therapies that support the mind, body and spirit for patients and caregivers.
"Integrative Oncology is about supporting the body's innate capacity to heal through the use of complementary therapies which incorporate healing practices designed to support the whole patient, both mind and body." "It is about helping patients find peace with their diagnosis, about removing stress from their life, and about helping patients live their best life as they journey through cancer," says Dr. Andrew Nish, Medical Director, John Stoddard Cancer Center.
To help provide this additional support for patients and families, the team at Stoddard Cancer Center is proud to offer evidence-based healing therapies for patients through the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program.
Services and Programs Offered
- Volunteer Comfort Ambassadors take a comfort cart and a comfort menu to patient rooms multiple times a week. The menu includes items such as warm blankets, nail care kit, lip balm, magazines, books, etc.
- Massage therapy is offered twice a week to reduce stress, anxiety pain and to improve sleep patterns.
- Guided imagery, a form of deliberate, directed daydreaming, is offered to help reduce stress and soothe uncomfortable symptoms.
- Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants and is offered to improve the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of patients.
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week evidence-based program offering intensive mindfulness training to help with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Utilized in medical settings over the last 40 years, MBSR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, yoga and exploration of patterns of behavior, thinking, feeling and action to increase positive response to toxic stress, stress hardiness, focus, creativity, regulate emotions, and allow a greater sense of self-care and well-being.
- Meals that Matter is a program offering nutritionally balanced, ready-made meals for patients and their caregivers at no cost. The recipes were developed in conjunction with our Stoddard Cancer Center dietitian and internal food & nutrition team, and the menu features full entrees as well as soup and fruit options. The meals are available two days per week for all patients visiting Stoddard Cancer Center or being discharged from the Powell 3 inpatient unit. This service helps ensure patients are receiving the nutrition they need to support healing and health, while offering economic support.
- Meals that Matter at Home is a program offering free weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables to the homes of cancer patients and survivors. The program provides participants with two recipes a week that utilize the produce provided in their delivery.
- A cooking class is posted weekly on a secured Facebook group, showing participants how to prepare the recipes, along with tips for washing, storing and preparing the produce.
- Participants are also able to speak with an oncology dietitian anytime throughout the program.
- Music Therapy is available for patients two half-days each week by a board certified music therapist. Music therapy can have beneficial effects on anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue and quality of life.
- Wellness Coaching is available to patients on a limited basis as a part of our prehab clinic. The certified wellness coach helps patients identify health-related patterns & personal health risks to craft a realistic plan, helps find motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle, assists in overcoming current challenges/barriers, and helps patients measure progress toward meeting health-related goals.
Charlie Cutler was an inspiration to all and a friend to many. After a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Charlie passed away at the far too young age of 26. The Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program was formed in memory of Charlie by his family, friends and the community to honor the positive impact non-traditional treatments had on his cancer journey. The program supports patients and caregivers at John Stoddard Cancer Center by providing tools to help them approach each new day with renewed energy, hope and focus.
What’s On Your Mind? is a counseling program for patients and/or family members of patients. The services are provided at no charge. Patients and family members are welcome to come to group counseling or may set up individual appointments.
For group sessions, each patient will undergo a brief individual screening prior to joining to determine appropriateness for group therapy. Each session begins with a discussion of the problems faced in the previous session. The group's facilitator then discusses, analyzes and works through these issues with the group. Handouts on psychological strategies for handling these problems, as well as a bibliography of additional resources are also provided. Individual and group counseling topics include:
- The grief process. Will my life ever be the same? Where am I in the grief process?
- What about my family? What should I tell them? What do I need from them? Where are they in the grief process?
- What about my emotions? How do anxiety, depression, and personality affect my treatment, compliance, and outcome? Is there anything to help my mood?
- What about the future? What should I do when I don't know what the future holds? Am I helping or hindering my therapy? Is there more I should be doing? Are there things I should stop doing?
- Other topics are addressed as needed.
For more information, call (515) 241-3343.
Oncology specialist dietitian provide nutritional assessments and education on specialized diets required for cancer patients. They help patients deal with the side effects that come along with their disease and offer treatments to help improve their nutritional status.
By helping patients understand more about nutrition, our dietitian works to:
- Prevent or correct nutritional deficiencies
- Minimize the side effects of treatment
- Enhance quality of life during treatment
- Improve ability to tolerate treatment
- Help achieve and maintain optimal body weight
- Incorporate healthy nutrition habits into daily living
- Educate family members about special nutrition needs
- Collaborate with providers to manage alternate nutrition and hydration therapies
For more information about our services and how a dietitian can help you, please talk with your physician or call (515) 241-3310.
Located on Level A of John Stoddard Cancer Center, EMPOWER Boutique Salon is available to patients throughout their cancer journey. Cancer patients often experience changes in their appearance due to treatments or surgery. This can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. EMPOWER addresses this challenge by offering products and services that meet the unique needs of cancer patients.
All of the products are available to purchase at low prices. Products available include:
- Head scarves
- Essential oils - lemon, lavender, peppermint
- Comfort items
Thanks to generous donors and our partners Dream Catcher's Foundation and Trixie's Salon for making the following services available for patients at no cost. Patients can call (515) 241-4243 to schedule an appointment.
- Head shaving
- Beard trimming and shaving
- Blow out
- Skincare and makeup
Your donation of new hats, scarves, head coverings, neck pillows, port pillows, and blankets could make someone's day. Items must be new, unused and from a smoke-free household.
Items our patients need:
- Head coverings
- Small pillows, neck pillows and port pillows
- Salon-quality shampoo and conditioner
- Unscented lotions
Items not accepted:
- Stuffed animals and toys
- Food items
The EMPOWER Boutique is made possible because of the generosity of others. If you are interested in supporting this important service, please contact the UnityPoint Health – John Stoddard Cancer Center Foundation at (515) 241-6304.
Genetic counseling and testing is done to help people better understand their risk for cancer and make decisions to prevent cancer. To be seen in the Genetic Counseling Clinic, you will need a referral from your provider. A genetic counseling session lasts about one hour, and is free of charge. Call (515) 241-4607 for more information or to make a referral.
Interventional oncology is the treatment of cancer and cancer-related problems using minimally invasive, targeted treatments performed under imaging guidance. These procedures are performed by board certified physicians specializing in interventional radiology.
Interventional radiology services include:
- Cancer diagnosis using imaging guided biopsy techniques
- Cancer treatment using local targeted treatments to a variety of organ systems. This includes, advanced tumor ablation, radiofrequency ablation, alcohol ablation, as well as chemoembolization
- Palliative care, including drainage tubes, feeding gastrostomy tubes and venous success
Stoddard Cancer Center works in partnership with the Interventional Oncologists of Iowa Radiology.
Above+Beyond Cancer Optimal Living for Cancer Survivors is a program that promotes the participation of cancer survivors in exercise and wellness activities. All classes are free to YMCA members and survivors may receive a 12-week scholarship to the YMCA. For more information call (515) 512-9225, visit the Above + Beyond Cancer website or talk to your doctor about making a referral.
A mammogram can catch breast cancer at it's earliest stage when it is most treatable. Stoddard Cancer Center, in partnership with Bras for the Cause, Iowa Lutheran Hospital and Iowa Radiology, offers a free mammogram program for uninsured and underinsured women in the Des Moines area.
- Women age 40 or over
- Income at or below 250% of the federal poverty income level
- No insurance or insurance that does not cover these services, and no Medicare Part B coverage
What if something is found during the mammogram?
- The Pink Days Program includes follow-up diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds if needed. Women who require additional testing beyond this or those diagnosed with cancer or a pre-cancerous condition will be enrolled in the Iowa Care for Yourself Program for additional testing and treatment.
How do I sign up?
To see if you qualify, please the complete the request form and a representative will contact you.
We offer many support groups to patients and families who wish to share their feelings with others who will understand. We believe a caring, supportive environment is important for the mental well-being of the patients, survivors and caregivers.
Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment and is still used extensively today. An estimated 60 percent of patients will undergo cancer surgery during their cancer journey.
In many cancers, including rare ones, surgical removal of the tumor is still the primary treatment cancer surgeries are done by general surgeons or surgeons who specialize in cancer related surgeries.
Surgery as a cancer treatment may be used for many purposes, such as:
- Curative treatment
- Diagnostic treatment (removal of tissue samples for testing and evaluation)
- Palliative treatment (to relieve discomfort and improve quality of life)
- Preventive treatment (removal of tissue that does not yet contain cancer cells but has a high risk of turning cancerous)
- Restorative treatment (removal of tissue that does not yet contain cancer cells but has a high risk of turning cancerous)
- Supportive treatment (surgical placement of a device to aid in the delivery of medications)
The Survivorship Program brings together a team of experts and community resources to offer patients the support they need following treatment. Survivorship is defined by the National Cancer Institute as the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. It focuses on the health and life of a person with cancer beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. Survivorship includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, late effects of treatment, secondary cancers and quality of life. Family members, friends and caregivers are also part of the survivorship experience.
- 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 (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.
The Oncology Navigation team was a first in Central Iowa and has proven to be a tremendous benefit for our patients and their families. Oncology navigators are patient advocates and provide education and support to cancer patients and their families before, during and after treatment. Together, with members of the multidisciplinary care team, the oncology navigation team helps bridge and connect patients and their families with resources within the Stoddard Cancer Center and in the community as a whole. Their goal is to educate and support the patient and their family throughout the cancer journey.
Oncology Navigation Team
Angela joined the Stoddard Cancer Center team in July of 2016. Prior to joining the team at Stoddard Cancer Center, she was an inpatient nurse on the Powell 3 Adult Oncology Unit at Iowa Methodist Medical Center for six years. She also worked as a medical-surgical nurse at Lutheran 3East for two years and was a medical-surgical nurse in Ottumwa, Iowa. Angela facilitates the Gynecologic Cancer Support Group and the UsTOO Prostate Cancer Support Group. As an Oncology Nurse Navigator, Angela specializes in the care of gynecologic, genitourinary and lung cancers.
Angela realized she wanted to work with oncology patients at a young age when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Angela took on the role of caregiver to her mother. Unfortunately, her mother is no longer with her, but her mother’s spirit helps Angela provide the best care possible to her patients.
Ann has been a part of the oncology navigation team since September 2014. As a nurse with more than 30 years of experience within the fields of oncology, hematology, hospice and palliative care, she understands all aspects of the cancer journey for the patients, families and caregivers and how to help them through their journey. Ann specializes in helping pancreatic, liver and breast cancer patients and families. In addition, she facilitates the multidisciplinary Liver Conference and Life Beyond Breast Cancer Support Group.
Ann is focused on walking alongside patients and families, helping them through their cancer journey by answering questions, providing support, and connecting them to resources within the Stoddard Cancer Center and throughout the community. At the same time, she looks ahead a few steps to identify what is coming up next in the journey to determine how to meet their needs. Most importantly, Ann provides education, hope and encouragement to patients and loved ones so they can have the best quality of life possible while going through treatment.
"I believe the best care a cancer patient can receive is a multidisciplinary approach and this takes coordination to assure that the best outcomes are being met," says Ann.
Jen joined Stoddard Cancer Center in July of 2009. Prior to joining the team at Stoddard Cancer Center, she was a physician-nurse with Medical Oncology and Hematology Associates in Des Moines. She has also worked as an oncology nurse on the Powell 3 Oncology Inpatient Unit at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and at St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids. Jen specializes in the care of breast cancer and head and neck cancer patients. She leads the Survivorship Program and facilitates the Oral, Head and Neck Cancer support group as well as the Life Beyond Breast Cancer support group.
Jen's main role is to help provide quality care and support for the cancer patient and their loved ones. This includes developing and overseeing the care patients receive from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. She assesses the patient's needs and informs them of the many multidisciplinary team members available to support them during their cancer journey. The patient and their loved ones receive enhanced teaching of treatment options and procedures.
Jenny has been a nurse navigator since February 2012 and came to Stoddard Cancer Center with over 15 years of experience as a nurse on the Powell 3 Adult Oncology Unit at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. Jenny specializes in the care of colorectal cancer and esophageal cancer patients. She also facilitates the colon cancer multidisciplinary team conference and the Colorectal Cancer Support Group.
"I am very honored to be a part of our oncology navigation team," says Jenny. "I get the opportunity to be with the patients and their families through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond to offer support, education, and always a listening ear. I am grateful to be a part of their journey, and assist them in any way I can."
Jenny facilitates a multidisciplinary colorectal cancer conference twice a month with Dr. Robert Behrens, Medical Oncologist. The purpose of this conference is to discuss the best treatment plan for Stoddard Cancer Center patients and provide a higher standard of care. The multidisciplinary team includes physicians, social workers, nurses, a psychologist and a dietician.
As an oncology social worker, Pamela supports patients and their families with the practical, social and emotional issues related to a cancer diagnosis. Pamela joined Stoddard Cancer Center in August of 2022. Prior to joining the team at Stoddard Cancer Center, she was a palliative care social worker with the John Muir Health in Concord, California. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and graduated with a master's degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She has been working as a social worker in health care settings since 2011.
Pamela has additional certification in Advance Palliative and Hospice Social Work (APHSW-C). The intent in palliative care is to improve quality of life for patients living with a serious illness, such as cancer. She facilitates the Caregiver Support Group and the Lung Cancer Support Group. She also participates in the Prehabilitation Clinic which addresses the nutritional, physical and psychosocial needs and provides education to help prepare patients for surgery as they go through their chemo and/or radiation therapy.
About Our Cancer Programs
Stoddard Cancer Center is privileged to work with a multidisciplinary team of skilled physicians in a number of specialty areas.
- The radiation oncologists with John Stoddard Cancer Center Radiation Oncology continue to provide one of the most technologically advanced radiation oncology & brachytherapy departments in Iowa.
- Mission Cancer + Blood medical oncology specializes in the treatment of cancer, specifically with chemotherapy.
- The Iowa Clinic, the surgical oncology specialists, and UnityPoint Health general surgeons perform surgical treatment of more than 14 different types of cancer.
- Iowa Radiology interventional radiologists allow our team to be able to offer complete diagnostic and interventional imaging services using the most advanced imaging techniques.
- Iowa Pathology Associates provides cutting-edge diagnostic services including the most advanced molecular techniques to diagnose tumors, allowing us to tailor therapies to each individual patient.
Andrew Nish, MD, serves as medical director of John Stoddard Cancer Center. As medical director, Dr. Nish is an important link to the medical team and works to facilitate discussions around quality, clinical trials and patient care enhancements. Dr. Nish is featured in the Dish with Nish Podcast.
Dr. Nish graduated from Carleton College and received his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School. He completed his residency in Diagnostic Radiology and a fellowship in Interventional Radiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Following his fellowship, he moved to Des Moines and began a 27-year career as an Interventional Radiologist at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. During that time he introduced many new procedures to the medical center including peripheral arterial stents, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts, chemo and radioembolization of liver tumors and microwave ablation of tumors in many locations.
Despite his successful career he became restless and began to question the care model of traditional western style medicine. A retrospective analysis of his 27-year career revealed the fact that patient health was not getting better and that the traditional care model was failing patients and their families. With this new insight he began to study nutrition, stress, exercise and sleep as it related to health and wellness. He went on to enroll in a 2-year fellowship at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, completing his studies in October of 2018.
His passion is to educate the public and healthcare workers about true health and well-being and how this can be achieved through lifestyle changes, including:
- food and nutrition
- stress management
- purpose in life
- social relationships.
He is fascinated with the mind-body connection and how our thoughts and beliefs directly influence our physical and mental health.
- Rob Bakker
- Jen Cross
- Katie Hart
- Jennifer Groos, MD
- Laura Meeker
- Tom Mulrooney
- Andrew Nish, MD, Medical Director
- Paula Noonan
- Phil Roeder
- Stephanie Roscoe
- Joe Soda
- Kasey Johnson Steen
- Sarah Zeidler, Executive Director
- Daniel Zinnel, Chair
- Denise Essman, Emeritus
- Gary Kahn, Emeritus
- Frank Marcovis, Emeritus
- Ted Lodden, Emeritus
John D. Stoddard
John Stoddard was an engineer by training and a real estate developer and entrepreneur by profession who amassed a large fortune and gave most of it away. He often said that the reason he worked so hard to make money was to have more to give away.
In 1990, his keen interest in medical care and compassion for others compelled him to support Iowa Methodist Medical Center's new cancer center with a $4 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the center was named the John Stoddard Cancer Center.
As the state-of-the-art center was constructed, John, an engineer, kept close watch. From the moment the first steel beams were erected, John saw "outstanding architecture" emerge. He gained a sense of satisfaction that came from supporting a facility specifically designed to offer feelings of life, health and hope.
John was always a fervent ambassador for the center, spreading his enthusiasm for the new and emerging technology, expert cancer researchers and caregivers and personalized family-centered care. Shortly before his cancer diagnosis, John said, "Once you see the center, once you see the remarkable work that's being done, that's what really motivates you to give. There's such an attitude of hope."
Through his ongoing gifts to the center, as well as significant provisions made in his estate plan, John Stoddard's spirit of hope will continue to benefit cancer patients and their families for generations to come.