By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Did you know that our very own Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) offers a wide array of cancer services? Looking into the offerings locally could save you gas and travel time heading to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City.
Last week, Mary Ann Hindman, JRMC director of Social Services, and Deb Byers, JRMC physician liaison, spoke to a group of Jones County residents during the Munch & Learn. They gave updates on the cancer services the hospital offers, not only for patients, but family members and loved ones as well.
“Our cancer services has certainly grown here,” expressed Hindman of the expansive services to JRMC in general since the hospital opened its new doors in 2009.
As part of her role with JRMC, Hindman said, “I deal with people’s anxiety about the disease (cancer) and provide support.”
Some statistics about cancer may surprise you:
• 6,400 Iowans will die this year from cancer.
• The number of people who die of cancer is 14 times that of those who die in car accidents.
• Cancer is the leading cause of death in Iowa.
Joe Kruchten, the lab supervisor at JRMC, said labs are a vital part of diagnosing cancer in many cases. He said they are able to monitor one’s chemotherapy and test of prostate cancer, leukemia, myelomas, tumor markers, pap smears and biopsies.
The various cancer services offered at JMRC, include:
• Imaging – Byers said they have the availability to do mammograms, radiology services, chest X-rays and ultra sounds.
“These can all be part of the diagnosis,” said Byers.
• Special outpatient services – JRMC has added six new outpatient services: gastroenterology (digestive system disorders), upper endoscopy screenings and colonoscopy screenings and biopsies to help detect colon cancer.
Byers said after patients have one of these special services, they might be referred to a surgeon.
“All these specialties work well together,” she said.
• Surgery – JRMC has expanded from offering one to three surgeons on staff. Some of their newer surgeries they can perform right here in Jones County include removing lesions, biopsies, endoscopies and more. Byers said women come to JRMC to have masts on their breasts treated. Many of these services are same-day surgeries.
“We can keep patients over night if need be,” Byers offered.
• Oncology special services – Patients can come to JRMC twice a month for oncology services. They can speak with an oncologist to discuss treatment plans, prognosis and help in monitoring one’s progress.
“Whether you should have chemo or radiation, those are all questions for the oncology doctors,” Byers warned. She said they are here to help cancer patients in any way they can.
• Urology – JRMC just announced last week that they now offer cystoscopies, bladder scopes that help diagnose prostate cancer. They have three urologists on staff.
• Infusions and Injections – These services involve simple chemo treatments, blood transfusions and injections (such as Procrit, Neupogen, Xygeva and Herceptin).
• Rhythm of Life Program – Hindman said that this program offers cancer patients the opportunity to utilize the hospital’s exercise program under supervision.
“It’s for those who need or want their vital signs checked closely during exercise or monitored,” Hindman explained. “It’s offered at a low cost for up to a few times a week.”
• Rehabilitation – The various rehab services include physical, occupational and speech therapies. These can be either in or outpatient services.
“Just ask your doctor, ‘Can I get this service at JRMC?’” Hindman urged patients. “As consumers, you can pick where to seek these services.”
• Counseling – When someone is diagnosed with cancer, Hindman said there are a lot of feelings associated with hearing the news: anger, denial, depression and so on. She said the hospital has counselors on staff to meet with patients and family members to offer that support and talk about how to deal with the diagnosis.
• Hospice – JRMC works with several hospice services in the area, including Above & Beyond here in Monticello.
“People used to automatically think of an imminent death with cancer,” Hindman said. “That is no longer the case.”
She said hospice services can be inpatient or out patient, depending on the situation or need. Many times, hospice services are covered by insurance and/or Medicare.
“It’s all about the quality of life you want,” she said. “You can have hospice for a few days or a few years.” Along with hospice, there is also spiritual care as well. “It’s the best way to have care wrapped around you, like any other service.”
Both Hindman and Byers offered advice, as they’ve dealt with so many cancer patients at JRMC. They said bring a loved one with you to appointments for emotional and moral (and sometimes physical) support. Talk to other cancer patients about what they have gone through or are currently going through, for advice. Make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your care and health and well-being.
For more information on JRMC and the extensive cancer services they offer right here in Jones County, visit
JRMC now offers a free cancer support group. They meet the fourth Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the hospital board room. The support group is for cancer patients, survivors, and family members or loved ones, anyone who’s been touched by cancer.