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New MercyOne cancer center promises easier access to better care

The doctor behind the MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center says it will improve the patient experience by bringing the team of physicians together in one place.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center has been a few years in the making.

"What we're opening today is just the next step," Dr. Richard Deming said.

The new cancer center came from a vision for a patient experience that makes it easier for patients to see their team of physicians.

"They'll see the lung doctor, the lung surgeon, the radiation oncologist, the medical oncologist; there'll be a plan of care determined all in that one place, in one setting," Deming said.

Treatment wouldn't stop there. He said it will include "evidence based practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, artist therapy, music therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, meditation, yoga."

Deming said how the treatment is done is just as important as what treatments are offered.

"Everything that we do is bringing that compassionate care," he said.

That part, according former patient Susan Canfield, wouldn't be new.

"All along the process, Dr. Deming was positive, was encouraging. He just cares about his patients," she said.

Canfield is a Pella resident who underwent cancer treatment at MercyOne back in 2020.

"Their responsiveness and their flexibility and their kindness... You weren't just another patient," she said. "You were someone who who mattered." 

Fundraisers said it's that reputation, in part, that helped them raise $16 million from more than 700 donors for the project.

"We are really poised to serve patients in a new way that probably many have been going out of state to receive the type of care that we're going to be able to provide here," said Shannon Cofield, president of the MercyOne Des Moines Foundation.

Meanwhile, Deming is looking to the future.

"I feel humbled, I feel a bit embarrassed, I feel the weight of responsibility that the care that we provide here and that will be provided for decades to come," he said.

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