At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we’re just as dedicated to helping people live their lives to the fullest as we are to providing our patients as many options as we can to eliminate their disease with as much precision and as little impact as possible on the rest of the body.
We’re here to support you in every way we can — physically, emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise — for as long as you need us.
To this end, we’ve built a program for you and your loved ones that includes support groups, seminars, workshops, and more. Over the years, we’ve become a model of cancer support programs for cancer centers around the country.
Counseling and Emotional Support
Sometimes, you and your loved ones just need someone to talk to, someone who’s trained to help you make sense of your experience before, during, and after treatment for cancer.
Our Counseling Center offers professional individual and group counseling sessions to help you and your family cope with your disease. These sessions can be a healthy, productive way to work through the stress and anxiety that are sometimes a part of treatment and recovery.
In addition, our popular patient-to-patient support program offers you a way to connect with others who’ve been through cancer treatment and are now doing well. We also offer help for parents who need help talking with their children about their illness.
Both having and surviving cancer can lead to changes in how you feel about many aspects of life that can be difficult for family and friends to understand. It can be a confusing time. Some people feel relieved, while others describe a sense of dread that the cancer could come back. It can be difficult to manage these often-contradictory feelings.
Your “new normal” may have taken on a new meaning. Explaining how you feel to your partner, family, or loved ones — despite your emotions being contradictory at times — might give you the best results.
Resources for Life After Cancer
Our Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) program offers individual and family consultations, seminars, workshops, and professionally led support groups covering such topics as insurance, employment, and caregiver issues.
Rehabilitation and Exercise
Cancer treatment can sap your strength, flexibility, mobility, and endurance. The experts at our Sillerman Center for Rehabilitation can teach you therapeutic exercises and training programs that can help you heal. The state-of-the-art facility is specially tailored to the needs of people who’ve undergone treatment for cancer.
Palliative Care and Pain Management
If you’re in pain — whether it’s during your treatments or even months after they’re over — you don’t have to continue to suffer. Our experts can help.
Our specialists in palliative care and pain management can give you solutions for both acute physical pain that comes on suddenly, as well as chronic pain that lingers.
Our palliative care specialists are trained to ease the side effects of cancer treatment and work with our pain experts to build a plan that makes sense for you and your needs, both during and after your treatment. Our outpatient programs are here for you and your caregivers, and we can work with your doctor and local pharmacists to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Cancer and its treatment are a challenge for anyone, regardless of age. But if you’re over 65, you may face unique issues that affect only people in your age group. We’re committed to providing cancer patients of all ages with the treatment, facilities, and support they need.
Your treatment team will include healthcare professionals who have the specialized training and experience to effectively treat older patients. Every aspect of your care — diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and support — will be tailored to meet your particular needs.
Medical treatments — things like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery — are often the best way to treat your cancer. Their whole purpose is to get you healthy again. But we know that complementary services can help soothe and heal not only your body but also your mind and spirit.
Our Integrative Medicine Service can be a valuable part of your formal treatment plan. Programs we offer include massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, visualization, music therapy, and nutritional counseling. Formal classes include yoga, tai chi, and chair aerobics.
Many people with cancer have questions about diet and nutrition. Our food and nutrition team is trained in helping you understand and cope with a variety of conditions relating to cancer treatment.
Our expert dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy that can help you manage digestion problems, changes in taste, your weight, and other issues. They’ll work closely with your treatment team to customize a dietary plan that fits your own specific needs.
Dermatology and Skin Care
We understand that the side effects of cancer treatment that affect your physical appearance can be as upsetting and uncomfortable as any other symptoms you may have. Our dermatology experts can help you manage conditions that affect the health and appearance of your skin and, in some instances, even help prevent them from developing in the first place.
Treatment for some cancers can affect your sexual health. Our Female Sexual Medicine and Women’s Health Program and Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program can connect you with specially trained counselors who can help you find solutions.
Fertility is an important, very personal concern for many of our patients. Our experts can help explain how different treatment options can affect the ability to have and bear children, and also go over the many choices we can offer — both before treatment and during it — to give you the best chance of preserving your fertility.
Beyond the many other health issues it causes, smoking is a serious risk factor for many types of cancer, and can also make cancer treatments less effective. If you smoke, we want to help you stop — now — to reduce your risk of developing a second cancer or impairing your treatment.
The Tobacco Treatment Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering is ready to help if you’re ready to quit. Giving up tobacco is hard. And quitting while in treatment presents a unique challenge. But it’s a challenge you can overcome, and we can help you do it. We’ll also help family members who want to quit with you.
Genetic Testing and Counseling
As a cancer survivor, you or your family may have questions about the risk of developing other types of cancer or passing on an increased risk for cancer to your children.
Our Clinical Genetics Service offers risk assessment for hereditary cancers, genetic counseling, and genetic testing by specially trained genetic counselors and physicians. We’ll review your family history and offer education and services that may help you understand and manage these issues.
After you’ve completed active treatment for cancer, your MSK team will let you know about regular screening or surveillance you should undergo over time — either through us, with your primary care physician, or at another institution. We offer a number of these resources through Memorial Hospital and our various suburban outpatient treatment centers.
MSK Screening guideline compilation:
Ethics Consultation Services
In an ethics consultation, our experts help you and your family, caregivers, and friends make decisions about treatment and resolve conflicts.
MSK’s ethics consultation team is made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, and hospital staff. They are trained in mediation, communication, and ethics. They work with everyone involved to consider the treatment options and make sure they are in line with your values and preferences.