Pediatric Cancer Care: FAQs

We have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help you understand certain aspects of pediatric cancer care at Memorial Sloan Kettering. For additional questions or to make an appointment, please call our Department of Pediatrics at 212-639-5954.

1. What ages of patients does the Department of Pediatrics treat?

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we treat a person’s particular type of cancer in the most appropriate setting. This means that some tumors affecting older teens and young adults are better treated in the Department of Pediatrics than on adult services. We treat by diagnosis, not by age, so our patients range from infants to young adults.

2. Where is the Department of Pediatrics located?

We are located at 1275 York Avenue in Manhattan. When you enter Memorial Sloan Kettering, take the B elevators to the 9th floor. Find accommodations, directions, and parking information for your appointment.

3. How long will I have to wait for an appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering?

We can often see new patients in our Department of Pediatrics within 24 hours, but this depends on many factors, including your child’s condition, stage of treatment, and location. Find more information about making an appointment.

4. Will my insurance company pay for treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering?

We suggest that you speak to your health insurance company directly to discuss what authorizations are necessary for treatment. Memorial Sloan Kettering participates in most insurance plans and works closely with families to secure the necessary authorizations. We also offer financial counseling to assist patients in clarifying insurance issues.

5. Who is in charge of my child's treatment?

Although your child may have more than one treatment – such as surgery plus chemotherapy – delivered by a specialized treatment team of experts, your child will have a primary physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering who coordinates all of the care.

6. What is a pediatric disease management team?

Cancer care at Memorial Sloan Kettering involves physicians from different disciplines, who specialize in one or more related diseases. These experts work together as a team to develop the best possible treatment program for a child or young adult with a specific type of cancer. Members of a particular team may include surgical oncologists, pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, oncology nurses, and social workers.

7. When do I need to sign a consent form?

You will be asked to read and sign a general consent form for your child before we perform any diagnostic tests. Once we establish your child’s diagnosis, your physician will meet with you to discuss recommended treatments. When we determine the treatment plan, you will be asked to sign additional consent forms regarding the treatment your child will receive. If your child is old enough, he or she will also participate in the consent process and be required to provide consent if age 18 or older.

8. Will my child participate in a clinical trial?

If participation in a clinical trial is appropriate, your physician will discuss the specifics of the particular trial with you. If you agree that a clinical trial is the best choice for your child, we will begin the consent process. If your child is old enough, he or she will also participate in the consent process.

9. Does the hospital have Internet access and activities for my child and family during treatment?

Yes. We have wireless Internet throughout the hospital, as well as TVs and DVDs available at all of our treatment beds. In addition, our recreational programming gives patients of all ages the chance to participate in a variety of activities. Our Integrative Medicine Service offers music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and other services for our inpatients and outpatients. And, as one of 40 hospitals participating in a New York City Department of Education program called Hospital Schools, we have several full-time teachers who play an active role in maintaining your child’s academic needs through our school program.

10. Do you offer interpretation services?

Yes. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we recognize that our patients and families come from diverse backgrounds and speak a variety of languages. Please contact your child’s healthcare team to arrange interpretation services in advance of your scheduled appointment.

11. Do you offer any services or activities for siblings of patients?

Yes. Our Specially Important Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) program is designed to recognize and celebrate the important role siblings play in the lives of our young patients. The program aims to help the brothers and sisters of our patients better understand their sibling’s hospital experiences through role-playing, tours of the operating room and other activities. Our SIBS meetings take place throughout the year on school holidays and during the summer months. Siblings can also participate in special events throughout the year.

12. Do you offer any emotional or social support services?

Yes. Our psychosocial care team includes social workers, child life specialists, teachers, chaplains, management and support staff, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, integrative medicine specialists, patient service coordinators, and patient representatives. Members of the team are available to meet the needs of our patients, as well as the needs of family members and others in our patients’ lives.