Becoming a Patient: The First Steps

Pictured: Martee Hensley With cancer, it’s vital that you understand your treatment options. Martee Hensley, one of our expert medical oncologists, reviews first steps with a woman just diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

If you, a family member, or a friend has recently been diagnosed with cancer, you probably have many questions about the disease and how to get treatment. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we are here to help you understand your treatment options and get the right care.

Making an Appointment

To make an appointment, call our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225. Anyone diagnosed with cancer can make this call. You do not need a referral from a doctor or “connections” at Memorial Sloan Kettering in order to meet with one of our experts.

Making an Appointment
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If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you can contact Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Physician Referral Service to make an appointment. Our referral staff is highly knowledgeable about cancer and about the individual specialties of our doctors. When you call, we will discuss your diagnosis and match you with the best physician for your particular situation. We can also answer many of your questions regarding treatment, insurance coverage, and clinical trials.

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When you call, our patient service representatives will speak with you about your diagnosis in order to understand which kind of doctor you should see first. Our representatives are kind and compassionate, and sensitive to the fears and concerns of people with cancer. They are also very knowledgeable about our medical staff and can answer many of your questions regarding treatment and clinical trials.

Some people meet with surgeons, others with medical oncologists or radiation oncologists. No matter which doctors you meet, however, you can be sure that they will be specially trained in treating the type of cancer that you have.

What Cancers We Treat

Our doctors are extraordinarily experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of cancer, from the most common to the very rare. Because we specialize in cancer, our methods of diagnosis and treatment can dramatically improve the chances of controlling or curing your disease.

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A concentration of knowledge, talent, and expertise of doctors who are focused on cancer care is what distinguishes Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from other hospitals.

Memorial Sloan Kettering can often help even if:

  • you have been diagnosed with a cancer that is aggressive, rare, or difficult to treat
  • surgery is necessary for the cancer you have, but you have been told that operating would be too complicated or dangerous
  • previous medical tests have not determined the type or stage of your cancer

Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering treat more cancers than those at many other hospitals. We are experts in identifying specific characteristics of the cancer you have that can help to determine which treatments will be most effective to cure or control it. Our doctors use the latest clinical advances, and are international leaders in pioneering new treatment approaches that are safer and more effective.

Preserving your quality of life during and after treatment is also a high priority. And while we are known for our advanced, innovative therapies, our physicians are equally committed to providing compassionate care.

Learn More about Your Disease

This website contains extensive information about Memorial Sloan Kettering's approach to the diagnosis and treatment of many common and rare types of cancer. Visit Cancer & Treatment for a list of the most common cancer types that we treat and links to detailed overviews of each. You will find profiles of our physicians, a list of current clinical trials for specific types and stages of cancer, and additional information about our services. You can also browse our recommended links for reliable cancer information on other websites.

Health Insurance

Memorial Sloan Kettering accepts most major health insurance plans. Every insurance policy is different, however. If you have any questions about your particular coverage, our financial counselors can work with you, your physician, and your insurance company to help you to receive care. Learn more about insurance and billing at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Support Services

We offer a variety of support services for Memorial Sloan Kettering patients and their family members. You can speak with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, or meet other patients whose diagnosis is similar to your own. We also organize live, online support groups that are especially helpful for patients who cannot easily travel to our facilities.

Our Network of Locations

If you live in the greater New York metropolitan area, you may be able to receive care close to home. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has outpatient facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Westchester County, and New Jersey. At all of our sites, doctors and other staff work together to ensure that you receive the highest quality of care, wherever you have your treatment. Visit locations for more information about our network of facilities and the services we offer.