Number of patients waiting reflects the current number of patients waiting to be seen. This number changes frequently and is not exact.
Advanced Cancer Care for Cedar Rapids
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is difficult. St. Luke's is here for you and your family during every step of your journey with services that treat mind, body and spirit. Plus, we're treating cancer earlier than ever before with state-of-the-art cancer risk assessments that find cancer at the earliest stages, when it's easiest to treat.
Our cancer patients are assured of the most aggressive new methods, advanced treatment options and leading-edge technology available today. We work hard to educate our patients and their family about their treatment process every step of the way. We view the family as an important part of the care we provide. Our ultimate goal is to provide accurate, precise and timely service to cure or relieve discomfort for the patient diagnosed with cancer.
St. Luke’s Radiation Oncology Provided at the Albert G. and Helen Nassif Radiation Center
The Albert G. and Helen Nassif Radiation Center completes the full spectrum of radiation cancer care for St. Luke's Hospital, housing the most advanced cancer fighting technology available.
The choice of cancer treatments is influenced by several factors, including the specific characteristics of your cancer; your overall condition; and whether the goal of treatment is to cure your cancer, keep your cancer from spreading, or to relieve the symptoms caused by cancer.
Cancer cells usually multiply faster than other cells in the body, which sometimes is the reason why undetected cancer can spread so rapidly. Because radiation is most harmful to rapidly growing cells, radiation therapy is effective in damaging cancer cells more than normal cells.
Specifically, radiation therapy damages the DNA of cancer cells, which prevents the cancer cells from growing and dividing. Unfortunately, certain healthy cells can also be killed by this process. The death of these healthy cells can lead to side effects such as hair loss or skin changes.
Radiation therapy is used to fight many types of cancer. It is often used to shrink a tumor as much as possible before surgery. Radiation can also be incorporated after surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back.
For certain types of cancer, radiation therapy is the only type of treatment needed, while other types of cancer are treated with a combination approach. Radiation may also be used to provide temporary relief of symptoms, or to treat malignancies (cancers) that cannot be removed with surgery.
- External beam radiation, the most common form, carefully aims high powered x-rays directly at the tumor from outside of the body
- Brachytherapy uses Radioactive Seeds that are placed directly into or near the tumor
- Radioactive Iodine 131, used to destroy any thyroid tissue not removed by surgery or to treat some types of thyroid cancer that have spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons has granted accreditation to St. Luke's.
St. Luke's is one of a select group of 13 facilities accredited in the state of Iowa and has been accredited since 2010.
The CoC's core functions include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with the 36 CoC standards; collecting standardized, high-quality data from accredited facilities; and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national, state, and local levels.
Meet Our Cancer Treatment Team
Comprehensive cancer care is provided by a team of highly skilled and caring healthcare professionals who work closely together to meet your cancer care needs.
Our cancer team of experts includes:
Comprehensive cancer care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals who work closely together. St. Luke's partners with local doctors and surgeons in the fight against cancer. Here are members of the St. Luke's team:
- Care Coordinators: registered nurses who help patients and families understand their diagnosis and works side by side to help them through treatment and recovery
- Certified Oncology Social Worker: available to provide support for you and your family. This includes coping with a cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship; caregiver stress; helping children/teens better understand cancer; community resources and financial issues
- Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition: our dietitian can help guide patients in their search for valuable information about poor appetite, ideal weight, supplements or other nutrition concerns
- Cancer Exercise Specialist: identifies exercise goals based on the patient's unique needs and limitations
Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center Team
The dedicated nurses, dietitians, social workers and cancer experts at Nassif Community Cancer Center work collaboratively with the other members of your team in your fight against cancer.
Your Partners on the Journey to Survivorship
A doctor with advanced training, experience and education, on the use of ionizing radiation to treat cancer. They prescribe the dose of radiation, how treatments will be given and closely monitors the progress of treatments. They work closely with other physicians and technicians as part of the multi-disciplinary cancer team.
Therapists will work with you every day during your radiation therapy sessions. They will administer your prescribed dose of radiation using a linear accelerator. They use advanced imaging technology to provide accurate delivery of treatments and work closely with the radiation oncologist to monitor the effects and progress of your treatments.
Physicists ensure the safety and accuracy of the radiation therapy equipment. They perform regular quality assurance checks and calibrations, as well as verifying all treatment plans prior to beginning treatments.
Dosimetrists work closely with your radiation oncologist, using the information acquired in the simulation, to design a treatment plan specifically for you, allowing the cancer to be treated with minimal harm to normal tissues.
The nurse provides oncology-specialized nursing care during radiation treatments and consults with you regularly about treatments and works with the radiation oncologist to manage side effects.
St. Luke’s Lung Check
The best chance of a cure for lung cancer is early detection. That's why together St. Luke's Hospital and the Community Cancer Center have developed an accredited Lung Check program. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women and is typically diagnosed at a more advanced stage after the cancer has spread. By making this test available, we can diagnose patients sooner for a faster recovery.
St. Luke's Lung Check includes a chest CT scan which is a rapid, non-invasive test using low-dose x-rays which provides detailed, three-dimensional images of the lungs. The entire chest is scanned between 7 and 15 seconds.
Radiologists review the images for the presence of small spots on the lungs, called nodules.
Lung Check Quiz & FAQs
- Are you between the ages of 50-77?
- Do you have at least a 20 pack year history?
- If you no longer smoke, did you quit within the last 15 years?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with any type of cancer?
- Have you been exposed to a significant amount of second hand smoke?
- Have you had prolonged exposure to asbestos or radon?
- Do you have a family history of lung cancer?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a lung disease?
- Have you had long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors or dust?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you may be a candidate for a lung screening. Please contact us at (319) 558-4876.
When a person is diagnosed with cancer there can be so much focus on the medical aspect of the disease, oftentimes the emotional, spiritual and even financial aspects can be overlooked. We believe this supportive care is equally important to a person's recovery. And that's why we developed the Spirit Fund.
The Spirit Fund provides assistance for men and women diagnosed with cancer who are in financial need. The fund provides money for services that are in support of an individual's ongoing care.
What does the Spirit Fund pay for?
The Spirit Fund is available to assist in paying for supportive services such as:
- Cancer supportive supplies – camisoles, hats, turbans, wigs, swimwear
- Supportive services – lymphedema treatments (with a physician order)
- Nutritional consultations and/or treatment (with a physician order)
- Exercise or physical therapy consultations and/or treatment (with a physician order)
- Other services deemed appropriate by the Spirit Fund Committee
The Spirit Fund is not able to provide funds for cancer treatment drugs.
Eligibility for assistance from the Spirit Fund is based partially on income and is evaluated annually. The Spirit Fund is open to individuals with a cancer diagnosis receiving treatment and residing in eastern Iowa.
To learn more or to find out if you qualify, contact the Spirit Fund Coordinator at (319) 369-7116.