Nationally ranked cancer program becomes patient's saving grace

Don Adams and his fiancé, Tracy


The sobering news that he had advanced stage kidney cancer was difficult enough for Don Adams to swallow. But when he was told that there was no one in the area that could remove the cancer or offer treatment due to the complexity and advanced stage of his cancer, Don was devastated.

His doctor recommended he seek help at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After an evaluation and tests at the Mayo Clinic, Don was scheduled for surgery six weeks later and sent back home to wait.

After just a couple weeks, Don’s condition had worsened. The aggressive cancer had begun to spread to his other kidney and liver. His doctor said he’d never make it another four weeks. After further research, he encouraged him to see Nebraska Medicine urologists who specializes in kidney cancer. Before he even arrived to his appointment, Nebraska Medicine urologists had discussed his case, reviewed the scans and scheduled surgery for two days later.

Get cancer care from a nationally ranked cancer program
If you’re looking for a cancer doctor or you’d like a second opinion from one of the top nationally ranked programs in the country, please call us at 402.559.5600.

“She immediately put my fiancé, Tracy, and me at ease and made me feel very comfortable,” says Don. “She was very confident and knowledgeable and we left feeling like we were in the best of hands.”

Today Don is cancer-free and forever grateful for the care he received at Nebraska Medicine. “I can’t speak highly enough of the team of doctors that participated in the surgery as well as all of the staff at Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” says Don. “They performed above and beyond our expectations. We had no idea that there was such outstanding care right here in Omaha, Nebraska.”

“We can thank them enough,” says Tracy. “They literally saved Don’s life.”

The cancer program at Nebraska Medical Center has more than 200 world-leading cancer specialists and researchers who work together to provide the most current and comprehensive cancer care in the area. Many of our cancer doctors specialize in performing some of the most advanced and complex surgeries that other hospitals do not have the experience or expertise to perform.

The program in 2019 received a national ranking from U.S. News & World Report due to the depth and breadth of our cancer expertise.

Nebraska Medical Center is ranked #35 of the 885 hospitals evaluated by U.S. News. This puts Nebraska Medical Center in the company of prestigious hospitals like MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic who were among the top 50 hospitals nationwide recognized for best cancer care.

 “It takes an entire team of dedicated individuals committed to world class cancer care to achieve a rating of this stature,” says Theresa Franco, vice president, Cancer Center Clinical Operations and Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “Our patients deserve the best from us. “We are proud of this achievement and will continue to find ways to advance the quality of our cancer program for everyone that we serve locally, regionally, and nationally.”

The U.S. News ranking is based on several criteria including patient outcomes, patient experience, expert opinion from board certified doctors and other care related indicators such as nurse staffing, patient volume, certain clinically proven technologies and other measures related to quality of care.


“We are again honored to be a part of this list, which places us among the best of the best,” says James Linder, MD, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “To have our cancer program achieve a national ranking is a testament to everyone who made the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center a reality. People who live in Omaha, the state of Nebraska and the surrounding region should know this means world class care is available not only at Nebraska Medical Center, but throughout all of our hospitals and primary care clinics in the region.”

The annual Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 30th year, are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures.

Like Don, U.S. News estimates that nearly 2 million people a year undergo surgery or special care that poses either special technical challenges or significantly heightened risk of death or harm because of age, physical condition or existing conditions. The rankings are a tool that can help you find hospitals with experience and extremely skilled surgical and inpatient care, ensuring you receive the best care and outcomes possible.

For example, even though a hospital may recommend surgery to remove a complex tumor, they may not have the experience and expertise to perform the surgery at the highest skill level as a hospital that sees a high volume of similar cases. This ranking can help you make the best health care decisions for you and your family so you will get the best outcome.

In addition, Nebraska Medical Center was the #1 rated hospital in the Omaha metropolitan area and in the state of Nebraska. U.S. News evaluates more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide to come up with their annual list of Best Hospitals.

U.S. News also rated Nebraska Medical Center as high performing in two other specialties, including:    

  • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery

Finally, the medical center received the highest ranking possible in five procedures/conditions:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Colon Cancer Surgery
  • Heart Bypass Surgery
  • Heart Failure
  • Hip Replacement