• Combining cutting-edge technology with compassionate support

    As a community-based center, we’re proud to offer a range of care and services from the area’s best providers. From prevention and education to the latest treatments and clinics, we put you at the center of all we do.

    Call today319-558-4876

  • Doctors

    Meet the doctors and specialists of the Helen G. Nassif  Community Cancer Center

    Meet the the dedicated doctors, surgeons and cancer experts who work collaboratively with the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center of Iowa to win the fight against cancer.

    Dr. Kerri Nowell, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa surgeon, explains the benefit to patients of having access to many different specialists all under one roof as part of the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

     

    Click on area of specialty for a list of doctors.

    Hematology/Oncology

    • Bryan Gates doesn’t sound like a guy with cancer. This self-described “Bryan with a Y” is easy-going and quick with a joke even when talking about the challenges he’s facing.

      Gates, 61, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 2017. This cancer begins in the cells that line the esophagus (the tube that runs from your stomach to your throat) and strikes men more often than women. What causes it is not clear. Says Gates with a laugh, “Maybe it was all that Mountain Dew I drank as a kid!”

      He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, then surgery, with more chemo to follow. Gates adds, “The cancer was causing internal bleeding and I was slowly fading away. I had six blood transfusions before the chemo shrunk the tumor.”

      Gates had his first round of chemo as well as his surgery at Mayo Clinic. His sister-in-law is a professor at Mayo, which makes it convenient for him to receive care there. But after his first chemo session, Gates said, “I told them I’d like to get the rest of my treatment at PCI.”

      Dr. Bharat Jenigiri of Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa (PCI) Hematology & Oncology is Gates’ physician. Dr. Jenigiri says his practice often collaborates with Mayo Clinic.

      “They send a lot of their patients from Iowa to us. And we use e-consults with Mayo when we want a second opinion on a patient’s care here.” These electronic consultations are made possible by UnityPoint Health Cedar Rapids, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

      “It’s a seamless process,” explains Dr. Jenigiri. “The physicians at Mayo have access to UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital’s imaging system so they look at the same images I see. We consult with them for complicated cases. We also reach out to them when we are trying to decide between multiple treatment options.”

      Gates came through his pre-surgical chemotherapy with minimal side effects. But he learned many chemo patients are bothered by increased sensitivity to cold, especially in their hands. “My wife Julie and I had been thinking about how we could give back to others,” says Gates. “A light bulb went off and we realized we could make hand-warmers. Julie’s sewed about 300 so far. We give them to chemo patients and also to rheumatology patients with arthritis.”

      Gates hopes his story will reassure cancer patients who “hear chemo and instantly think they will have a huge problem with side effects. That’s not always the case any more.” Dr. Jenigiri agrees, “There are newer drugs that provide targeted treatment with no side effects. We also have drugs that are really effective at controlling reactions like nausea. We try to find options for each patient that provide the most benefit with the least side effects.”

      “Dr. Jenigiri and his staff bend over backwards for you,” says Gates. “You can tell they’re concerned about their patients. I have been subjected to the most effective kindnesses here and deeply appreciate it.”

      The partnership with Mayo Clinic provides world-class care, right here at home. Find out more.

      Want to show your appreciation for the special caregivers who made your family’s cancer journey easier? The Guardian Angel program is a meaningful way to say “thank you,” while helping to fund programs and services for cancer patients and their loved ones. Call (319) 369-8100 for information on how you can give or click here.

    • Christina Ross remembers the day her life changed forever. She was getting ready for major back surgery—a frightening prospect for the 42-year-old single mom of a young son. Then she noticed a lump in one breast. A visit to her doctor revealed a second lump. Ross had back surgery, followed by a mammogram and a biopsy. On October 3, 2015, she received the diagnosis: breast cancer.

      “When my back problem occurred, I prayed,” Ross recalls. “I said please don’t let me become paralyzed because I have to take care of my son. Little did I know God was preparing me for cancer.”

      Ross says she “received a lot of bad news very fast.” Because the tumors indicated a fast-growing cancer, Rasa Buntinas, MD, of Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Hematology & Oncology advised starting chemotherapy right away. Admits Ross, “Right then I had to ‘man up.’ I had to prepare myself not just to deal with the cancer, but to tell my son and family. That was going to be hard.”

      Psychosocial Services Coordinator Nancy Yeisley met Ross on her first day of chemo. Yeisley says, “Christina hadn’t told her son yet and was very worried. We talked about how to approach the conversation with him and made a plan together. We also agreed she would tell him within the next three days. Christina likes deadlines, so that helped.”

      Fortunately, Ross already had a strong support group, starting with her sister Flora “Sandy” Williams. Together Ross and Williams broke the news to Ross’s son Cameron as well as to Williams’ children. “We were prepared for their questions,” explains Ross. “We stressed the cancer was caught early, it hadn’t spread. We knew the kids would take their cue from us. It helped them to see our positive attitude.”

      The initial rounds of chemotherapy were followed by surgery on April 25, 2016. “I’m cancer-free as of that date,” Ross beams. Surgery at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital was followed by more chemo as well as radiation therapy at St. Luke’s Nassif Radiation Center.

      “The nurses who helped with my chemo treatment were amazing in the love and support they gave me,” adds Ross. “They all deserve a month’s paid vacation wherever they choose! And my radiation team made me feel extra special.”

      As Ross moved through treatment and into recovery, she continued to rely on her support network, including Nassif Community Cancer Center. “That cancer center is like an extended family to me!” she exclaims.

      Just two months after her diagnosis, Ross and Cameron attended the Children’s Holiday Celebration put on by Nassif Community Cancer Center’s Family Care Program. “We had a great time. Cameron is outgoing—one of the things I love about him—and he had a long conversation with my social worker, Nancy. Later she told me how much Cameron loves me. As a parent, it means so much to hear that.”

      Nancy Yeisley notes the holiday season brings special challenges to those facing cancer—whether their own or a loved one’s. She encourages patients and caregivers to reserve their energy for the things that really matter. “When you go through something like cancer, it makes you look at what is important in your life,” says Yeisley. “Cherish the moments you have with the people you love.”

      Both the Family Care Program and Nassif Community Cancer Center’s Spirit Fund helped Ross through that first Christmas. Made possible by the generosity of donors and staff, these programs provide needed financial assistance for cancer patients and their families. Ross remembers crying when she saw the gift cards she received. “My son said don’t open the mail any more. Every time you do, you cry,” recalls Ross. “I still cry when I think about it. They really helped me.”

      Now Ross is determined to help others. Even while going through treatment, she started volunteering for Gems of Hope—a nonprofit that provides gifts of jewelry on inspirational cards for cancer patients. She also donates to the Spirit Fund to help other patients in need. Christina Ross adds, “Whenever I see patients with this disease, I stop and cheer them on. I say stay strong, you can do it.”

      “I know, because I’m doing it.”

      Special thanks to the Aiming for a Cure Foundation for helping to establish the Family Care Program. You can keep up with news on cancer care and support services for cancer patients and their families through our free Care Connections newsletter. Subscribe online by clicking here or call (319) 558-4876.

       

    • Cancer specialist says early detection can save lives

      Dr. William Fusselman is an expert at treating colon cancer. But he’d rather patients didn’t need his services at all.

      “Colon cancer is so preventable and treatable,” emphasizes Dr. Fusselman, of Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Hematology & Oncology. “In many cases it’s avoidable by making lifestyle changes like exercise and a healthy diet. And if it does develop, if we catch it early, surgery is all that’s required. The cancer is gone.”
      The key is early detection. Dr. Fusselman says today’s screening options, from colonoscopies to non-invasive methods, can find colorectal cancer when it’s very small and easily treated. “It’s only when cancer gets advanced that we have to do chemotherapy,” he explains. “Our goal is to find it when we have the best chance to get a cure with the least toxic treatment.”

      Colorectal cancer typically grows slowly over several years. It usually starts as a non-cancerous polyp—a small growth in the colon or rectum. With a colonoscopy, doctors can find polyps and remove them before they turn into cancer or when the cancer is very small.

      For more advanced disease, surgery is followed by chemotherapy. A typical course of treatment is six months, with follow-up testing and monitoring for five years. Dr. Fusselman and his team work closely with Nassif Community Cancer Center. “It’s tightly tied with how we take care of our patients every day. Colorectal cancer is linked to lifestyle, so patients often need exercise and education about a healthy diet. Because some families are at a higher risk, they may need a referral to the Risk Assessment and Genetic Clinic. We participate in clinical trials through the Nassif Community Cancer Center. And the palliative care team can help improve quality of life for people with very advanced disease.”

      Above all, Dr. Fusselman urges everyone age 50 or above to get regular screenings for colon cancer— sooner if you have a family history of the disease. He adds, “There was a time when people didn’t like to talk about breast cancer because it was too personal. Now women get mammograms and it saves lives. The same is true for colon cancer. We need to talk about it openly because this disease is preventable. Screening can save your life.

      To speak with one of our dietitians, exercise specialist, genetic specialists or care coordinators about colon cancer please call (319) 558-4876.

    • Rasa L. Buntinas, M.D., hematology/oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

      William P. Fusselman, M.D., hematology/oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

      Bharat Jenigiri, M.D.
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

      Nikki Robson, NP-C, hematology/oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-8222

       

      Sylvia E. Anspach, A.R.N.P., hematology/oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

      Nicole Miller, A.R.N.P., FNP-BC
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

      Lesley G. Vancura, FNP-BC
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Hematology/Oncology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/297-2900

       

    General Surgery

    Thoracic Surgery

    Hospice & Palliative Care

    • Claire M. Baumgartner, M.D.
      UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Palliative Care
      1026 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-7909

       

      James R. Bell, M.D.
      UnityPoint Hospice – Cedar Rapids
      1026 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-7744

       

      Amy Ganske, A.R.N.P.
      UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital Palliative Care Clinic
      1026 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-7909

       

      Julie Shaw, A.R.N.P.
      UnityPoint Hospice – Cedar Rapids
      1026 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-7744

       

      Brook N Van Dee, A.R.N.P.
      UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Palliative Care
      1026 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/369-7909

       

    Neurosurgery

    Otolaryngology

    Pathology

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

    Pulmonology

    • Lung Cancer Clinic takes a team approach to detection and treatment

      “Early detection and advances in how we treat lung cancer are moving us in the right direction,” says pulmonologist Muhammad Anwer, MD.

      Dr. Anwer of UnityPoint Clinic® Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids is part of the Nassif Community Cancer Center Lung Cancer Clinic—a team approach to detecting, diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as care coordinators from the Nassif Community Cancer Center, work together for the best possible outcome for every patient, every time.

      Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women—and the leading cause of cancer death. “The problem with lung cancer,” explains Dr. Anwer, “is by the time you have symptoms, generally the cancer is very advanced.”

      Today early detection is helping doctors save lives. “We’ve diagnosed some patients at stage one,” says Dr. Anwer. “Their cancer was so small we could treat it with just radiation therapy. If diagnosis had been delayed a year, things could be very different.”

      Dr. Anwer credits St. Luke’s Lung Check with helping to catch cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage. An accredited program of UnityPoint Health® – St. Luke’s Hospital and Nassif Community Cancer Center, Lung Check is a non-invasive test that uses low-dose X-rays to provide a detailed image of the lungs.

      “We target a group of the population age 55 to 74 who have a strong history of smoking,” says Dr. Anwer. “We look for tiny nodules that could indicate cancer.”

      If a nodule is detected and follow-up tests confirm it is cancer, Dr. Anwer brings the patient in to explain the diagnosis and treatment options. The patient also meets with a care coordinator from the Nassif Community Cancer Center. “The care coordinators are amazing!” says Dr. Anwer. “If patients have questions, they call the coordinator and she takes care of it. It’s so easy for patients to have one number to call for everything.”

      Dr. Anwer says coordination is important because teamwork is essential in treating lung cancer. Pulmonologists, oncologists, and radiation oncologists meet every week to review all lung cancer cases. “We share our expertise with one another. If the patient isn’t progressing and we need to change the treatment plan, the care coordinator helps us get the patient in quickly.”

      Dr. Anwer adds, “Our goal is to get the patient from diagnosis to the start of treatment within two weeks. In most hospitals, it’s nearly impossible to do that. But the level of care here is so good, there’s no reason to leave town.”

      For more information on the Lung Check screening or other services through the Lung Care Clinic, call (319) 558-4876.

    • Muhammad Anwer, M.D.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      Hamad Azam, M.D.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      James H. Boddicker, M.D., pulmonology
      IPC
      115 8th Street NE
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

       

      Vijaya Kumar Gogineni, M.D.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      Donald E. Paynter, M.D., pulmonology
      IPC
      115 8th Street NE
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      Warangkhana Wongba, M.D.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      Sarah Cole, A.R.N.P.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

      Mary Jo Henry, A.R.N.P.
      UnityPoint Clinic – UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty – Cedar Rapids
      855 A Ave NE
      4th Floor
      Cedar Rapids, IA
      319/363-3565

       

       

    Radiology

    Urology

    • Arthur W. Devine, Jr. M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      Logan Hoxie, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      Steven Mindrup, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      K. Neil Mittelberg, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      Thomas Richardson, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      Jonathan Rippentrop, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Medical Pavilion, 202 10th Street SE
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
      319/363-8171

       

      Steven M. Wahle, M.D., urology
      Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Dept. of Urology
      1260 Second Ave SE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
      319/363-8171

    Family Medicine

    Comments are closed.

  • Events, News & Announcements