I am a psychiatrist who specializes in psycho-oncology. This discipline focuses on helping people cope with the physical and emotional challenges of cancer. Although I see people with all forms of cancer, I have a particular interest in patients under the care of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service and the Supportive Care Service.
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After witnessing a family member’s journey with cancer at a young age, I enrolled in medical school with my sights set on becoming a medical oncologist. I was excited by the prospect of targeted molecular therapies. But my career took a different course when I fell in love with psychiatry. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, I am able to combine my two interests. I work within the rapidly growing world of cancer research and connect with patients emotionally as they go through perhaps the greatest challenge of their lives.
Much of my work incorporates meaning-centered psychotherapy (MCP), a technique developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. After cancer diagnosis and treatment, people often fear losing their identities as well as any sense of a future. More often than not, they slowly recover from this profound demoralization over time. MCP can help them recover faster by revealing different avenues and sources of meaning in life. I use other techniques to explore internal conflict, challenge distorted thinking, and problem solve. These may include psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapies.
As a psychiatrist, I believe in judicious use of medication. These interventions can address the physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms that may be holding someone back from living their life fully. This barrier can be due to a psychiatric condition they had before their cancer diagnosis or one that has emerged during treatment.
- Clinical Expertise: Psychotherapy for Cancer-Related Anxiety, Depression, and Difficulty Coping; Psychopharmacology for Psychiatric Conditions and Cancer-Related Syndromes (Fatigue, Nausea, Cognitive Impairment); Working with Patients with Young Families; Treatment of General Psychiatric Conditions (Anxiety, Depression, Substance Use Disorder) Worsened or Complicated by Cancer
- Awards and Honors: Jimmie Holland Award, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Award in Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
- Residencies: Psychiatry – NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
- Fellowships: Psychosomatic Medicine & Psycho-Oncology – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Edelstein A, Pergolizzi D, Alici Y. Review of cancer-related cognitive impairment in the older patient. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2017 Mar;11(1):60-69
Edelstein A, Alici Y., Breitbart W., Chochinov H. Palliative care. In J. Levenson (Ed.), Textbook of Psychosomatic Medicine (3ed.). Arlington, VA: The American Psychiatric Publishing.
As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.Learn more
Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care at MSK.Learn more