This guide will help you prepare for your retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). It will also help you understand what to expect during your recovery.
Read through this guide at least once before your surgery and then use it as a reference in the days leading up to your surgery.
Bring this guide with you every time you come to MSK, including the day of your surgery. You and your healthcare team can refer to it throughout your care.
About Your Surgery
Retroperitoneal lymph nodes are found in the area between your kidneys along a vein, the vena cava, and an artery, the aorta (see Figure 1). Your vena cava carries blood to your heart. Your aorta carries blood from your heart to the rest of the body.
About Your RPLND Surgery
RPLND is a surgery that removes your retroperitoneal lymph nodes. RPLND is a treatment for testicular cancer because the retroperitoneal lymph nodes are usually the first place that testicular cancer spreads. These lymph nodes may also be affected by other types of cancer.
During your surgery, your surgeon will make an incision (surgical cut) from the bottom of your ribcage to your pubic area. They will remove your lymph nodes through this incision. Your surgery will take 3 ½ to 5 hours.
This surgery may affect the nerves that control the way semen exits your body. Semen may go into your bladder instead of out of your penis. This is called retrograde ejaculation and can impact your fertility (ability to have biological children). For more information, read Retrograde Ejaculation.
Your surgeon will try to use nerve sparing techniques if possible. This can prevent retrograde ejaculation.However, it can still take between 1 month and several years before your nerves recover. We strongly recommend that you bank your sperm before your surgery. Your doctor and nurse will talk to you about this in more detail.Back to top
Before Your Surgery
The information in this section will help you prepare for your surgery.
Read through this section when your surgery is scheduled and refer to it as your surgery date gets closer. It contains important information about what you need to do before your surgery. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
You and your healthcare team will work together to get ready for your surgery.
Help us keep you safe during your surgery by telling us if any of the following statements apply to you, even if you aren’t sure.
- I take a blood thinner. Some examples are aspirin, heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), apixaban (Eliquis®), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®). There are others, so be sure your doctor knows all the medications you’re taking.
- I take prescription medications (medications prescribed by a doctor), including patches and creams.
- I take over-the-counter medications (medications I buy without a prescription), including patches and creams.
- I take dietary supplements, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies.
- I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), or other heart device.
- I have sleep apnea.
- I have had a problem with anesthesia (medication to make you sleep during surgery) in the past.
- I am allergic to certain medication(s) or materials, including latex.
- I am not willing to receive a blood transfusion.
- I drink alcohol.
- I smoke.
- I use recreational drugs.
About Drinking Alcohol
The amount of alcohol you drink can affect you during and after your surgery. It’s important to talk with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink. This will help us plan your care.
- Stopping alcohol suddenly can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know you’re at risk for these complications, we can prescribe medication to help prevent them.
- If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other complications during and after your surgery. These include bleeding, infections, heart problems, and a longer hospital stay.
Here are things you can do to prevent problems before your surgery:
- Be honest with your healthcare provider about how much alcohol you drink.
- Try to stop drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. If you develop a headache, nausea, increased anxiety, or can’t sleep after you stop drinking, tell your healthcare provider right away. These are early signs of alcohol withdrawal and can be treated.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you can’t stop drinking.
- Ask us any questions you have about drinking and surgery. As always, all of your medical information will be kept confidential.
People who smoke can have breathing problems when they have surgery. Stopping even for a few days before surgery can help. If you smoke, your nurse will refer you to our Tobacco Treatment Program. You can also reach the program at 212-610-0507.
About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, the airway becomes completely blocked during sleep. It can cause serious problems during and after surgery.
Please tell us if you have sleep apnea or if you think you might have it. If you use a breathing machine (such as a CPAP) for sleep apnea, bring it with you the day of your surgery.
Presurgical Testing (PST)
Before your surgery, you will have an appointment for presurgical testing (PST). The date, time, and location of your PST appointment will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeon’s office.
You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your PST appointment.
During your appointment, you will meet with a nurse practitioner (NP) who works closely with anesthesiology staff (doctors and specialized nurses who will give you anesthesia during your surgery). Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You will have tests, including an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests needed to plan your care. Your NP may also recommend you see other healthcare providers.
Your NP will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.
It’s very helpful to bring the following things to your PST appointment:
- A list of all the medications you’re taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.
- Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
- The name(s) and telephone number(s) of your doctor(s).
Identify Your Caregiver
Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. You and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare provider. After your surgery, your caregiver should be present for the discharge instructions so they’re able to help you care for yourself at home. Your caregiver will also need to take you home after your surgery.
Complete a Health Care Proxy Form
If you haven’t already completed a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you complete one now. A health care proxy is a legal document that identifies the person who will speak for you if you’re unable to communicate for yourself. The person you identify is called your health care agent.
If you’re interested in completing a Health Care Proxy form, talk with your nurse. If you have completed one already, or if you have any other advance directive, bring it to your next appointment.
Do Breathing and Coughing Exercises
Practice taking deep breaths and coughing before your surgery. You will be given an incentive spirometer to help expand your lungs. For more information, read our resource How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer. If you have any questions, ask your nurse or respiratory therapist.
Try to do aerobic exercise every day. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking at least 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), swimming, or biking. If it’s cold outside, use stairs in your home or go to a mall or shopping market. Exercising will help your body get into its best condition for your surgery and make your recovery faster and easier.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet before your surgery. If you need help with your diet, talk with your doctor or nurse about meeting with a dietitian.
Stop Taking Vitamin E
If you take vitamin E, stop taking it 10 days before your surgery. Vitamin E can cause bleeding. For more information, read our resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
Buy Hibiclens® Skin Cleanser
Hibiclens is a skin cleanser that kills germs for 24 hours after using it (see figure). Showering with Hibiclens before your surgery will help lower your risk of infection after your surgery. You can buy Hibiclens at your local pharmacy without a prescription.
Stop Taking Certain Medications
If you take aspirin, ask your surgeon if you should keep taking it. Aspirin and medications that contain aspirin can cause bleeding. For more information, read our resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
Stop Taking Herbal Remedies and Other Dietary Supplements
Stop taking herbal remedies and other dietary supplements 7 days before your surgery. If you take a multivitamin, ask your doctor or nurse if you should keep taking it. For more information, read our resource Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.
Watch a Virtual Tour
This video will give you an idea of what to expect when you come to Memorial Hospital (MSK’s main hospital) on the day of your surgery.
Stop Taking Certain Medications
Stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®), 2 days before your surgery. These medications can cause bleeding. For more information, read our resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
Note the Time of Your Surgery
A clerk from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If you’re scheduled for surgery on a Monday, you will be called on the Friday before.
The clerk will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. They will also tell you where to go. This will be one of the following locations:
Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 6th floor
1275 York Avenue
(between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
B elevator to 6th floor
If you don’t receive a call by 7:00 pm, please call 212-639-5014.
Eat a High Fat Diet
You will need to eat a high fat diet the day before your surgery. A high fat diet includes dairy products (cheeses, whole milk), avocado, meats, and baked goods.
Shower with Hibiclens
The night before your surgery, shower using Hibiclens.
- Use your normal shampoo to wash your hair. Rinse your head well.
- Use your normal soap to wash your face and genital area. Rinse your body well.
- Open the Hibiclens bottle. Pour some solution into your hand or a washcloth.
- Move away from the shower stream to avoid rinsing off the Hibiclens too soon.
- Rub the Hibiclens gently over your body from your neck to your feet. Don’t put the Hibiclens on your face or genital area.
- Move back into the shower stream to rinse off the Hibiclens.
- Dry yourself off with a clean towel after your shower.
- Don’t put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, cologne, or perfume after your shower.
Go to bed early and get a full night’s sleep.
- Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.
- Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 12 ounces of water (see figure).
- Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not eat or drink anything. This includes water.
Shower with Hibiclens
Shower using Hibiclens just before you leave for the hospital. Use the Hibiclens the same way you did the night before.
Don’t put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, cologne, or perfume after your shower.
Take Your Medications
If your doctor or NP instructed you to take certain medications the morning of your surgery, take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take and the surgery you’re having, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.
Things to Remember
- Don’t put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne.
- Remove nail polish and nail wraps.
- Don’t wear any metal objects. Remove all jewelry, including body piercings. The equipment used during your surgery can cause burns if it touches metal.
- Leave valuable items (such as credit cards, jewelry, or your checkbook) at home.
- Before you’re taken into the operating room, you will need to remove your hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles.
- Wear something comfortable and loose-fitting.
- If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Wearing contact lenses during surgery can damage your eyes.
What to Bring
- Your breathing machine for sleep apnea (such as your CPAP), if you have one.
- Your portable music player, if you choose. However, someone will need to hold it for you when you go into surgery.
- Your incentive spirometer, if you have one.
- Your Health Care Proxy form, if you have completed one.
- Your cell phone and charger.
- A case for your personal items (such as eyeglasses, hearing aid(s), dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles), if you have one.
- This guide. Your healthcare team will use this guide to teach you how to care for yourself after your surgery.
Where to ParkMSK’s parking garage is located on East 66th Street between York and First Avenues. If you have questions about prices, call 212-639-2338.
To reach the garage, turn onto East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is located about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue, on the right-hand (north) side of the street. There is a pedestrian tunnel that you can walk through that connects the garage to the hospital.
There are also other garages located on East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues, East 67th Street between York and First Avenues, and East 65th Street between First and Second Avenues.
Once You’re in the Hospital
You will be asked to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar names may be having surgery on the same day.
Get Dressed for Surgery
When it’s time to change for surgery, you will get a hospital gown, robe, and nonskid socks to wear.
Meet With Your Nurse
You will meet with your nurse before surgery. Tell your nurse the dose of any medications (including patches and creams) you took after midnight and the time you took them.
Your nurse may place an intravenous (IV) line into one of your veins, usually in your arm or hand. If your nurse doesn’t place the IV, your anesthesiologist will do it later once you’re in the operating room.
Meet With Your Anesthesiologist
Your anesthesiologist will:
- Review your medical history with you.
- Ask you if you’ve had any problems with anesthesia in the past, including nausea or pain.
- Talk with you about your comfort and safety during your surgery.
- Talk with you about the kind of anesthesia you will receive.
- Answer questions you have about your anesthesia.
Prepare For Your Surgery
Once your nurse has seen you, 1 or 2 visitors can keep you company as you wait for your surgery to begin. When it’s time for your surgery, your visitor(s) will be shown to the waiting area. Your visitors should read our resource Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery.
You will either walk into the operating room or be taken in on a stretcher. A member of the operating room team will help you onto the operating bed. Compression boots will be placed on your lower legs. These gently inflate and deflate to help blood flow in your legs.
Once you’re comfortable, your anesthesiologist will give you anesthesia through your IV line and you will fall asleep. You will also get fluids through your IV line during and after your surgery.
After you’re fully asleep, a breathing tube will be placed through your mouth and into your windpipe to help you breathe.
Once your surgery is finished, your incision will be closed with staples or with sutures (stitches). Steri-StripsTM (thin pieces of tape) will be placed directly on your incision and your incision will be covered with a bandage. Your breathing tube is usually taken out while you’re still in the operating room.Back to top
After Your Surgery
The information in this section will tell you what to expect after your surgery, both during your hospital stay and after you leave the hospital. You will learn how to safely recover from your surgery. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
When you wake up after your surgery, you will be in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).
A nurse will be monitoring your body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. You will get oxygen through a thin tube that rests below your nose called a nasal cannula. You will also have compression boots on your lower legs.
You will have a urinary catheter in your bladder to monitor the amount of urine you’re making.
You will also have a compression garment on, such as an abdominal binder. This is to help with the swelling. The garment will be put on you during your surgery.
You may have a pain pump called a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. For more information, read our resource Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA). If you don’t have an epidural catheter, you will get your pain medication through your IV line.
Your visitors can see you briefly in the PACU, usually within 90 minutes after you arrive there. A member of the nursing staff will explain the guidelines to them.
After your stay in the PACU, you will be taken to your hospital room. You will meet one of the nurses who will care for you while you’re in the hospital recovering from your surgery. Soon after you arrive in your room, your nurse will help you out of bed and into your chair.
Your nurse will teach you how to recover from your surgery. Below are examples of ways you can help yourself recover safely.
- Start moving around and walking as soon as you’re able to. Walking helps lower your risk for blood clots and pneumonia. It also helps to stimulate your bowels so they begin working again. Your nurse or physical therapist will help you move around. You will also get medication to relieve your pain.
- Use your incentive spirometer. This will help your lungs expand, which prevents pneumonia. For more information, read our resource How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer.
Read our resource Call! Don't Fall! to learn about what you can do to stay safe and keep from falling while you’re in the hospital.
Will I have pain after my surgery?
You will have some pain after your surgery. Your doctor and nurse will ask you about your pain often and give you medication as needed. If your pain isn’t relieved, tell your doctor or nurse. It’s important to control your pain so you can use your incentive spirometer and move around.
You may be given a prescription for pain medication before you leave the hospital. Talk with your doctor or nurse about possible side effects and when you should start switching to over-the-counter pain medications.
You will also have a compression garment on to help with the swelling. The garment will be put on you during your surgery. Wear your compression garment for 1 to 2 weeks after your procedure.
Why is it important to walk?
Walking will help prevent blood clots in your legs. It also decreases your risk of having other complications such as pneumonia.
Will I be able to eat after my surgery?
You will not be able to eat anything for 2 to 3 days after your surgery. After 2 to 3 days, you will start taking sips of water and progress to clear liquids. You will then start a 5 gram low-fat diet.
You eat less fat by following the guidelines below:
- Trim any visible fat from meats.
- Bake or broil foods instead of frying them.
- Avoid heavy gravies and cream sauces.
- Limit “regular” (not labeled low-fat) snack chips, croissants, doughnuts, and rich desserts like pound cake or cakes with frosting.
- Stay away from processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and bologna, unless they’re labeled “low-fat.”
Follow a low-fat diet for 2 weeks after your surgery. After that, you can gradually increase the amount of fat in your diet to an amount that you can tolerate.
Do not eat nuts, corn, or popcorn for 1 year after surgery, because these foods are hard to digest.
You will also need to avoid all laxatives.
If you have questions about your diet, ask to see a dietitian.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Most people are in the hospital for 7 to 10 days after this surgery.
By the time you’re ready to leave the hospital, your incision will have started to heal. Before you leave the hospital, look at your incision with your nurse and caregiver. Knowing what your incision looks like will help you notice any changes later.
Read our resource What You Can Do to Avoid Falling to learn about what you can do to stay safe and keep from falling at home and during your appointments at MSK.
Will I have pain when I’m home?
The length of time each person has pain or discomfort varies. You may still have some pain when you go home and will probably be taking pain medication. Some people have soreness, tightness, or muscle aches around their incision for 6 months or longer. This doesn’t mean something is wrong.
Follow the guidelines below to help manage your pain at home.
- Take your medications as directed and as needed.
- Call your doctor if the medication prescribed for you doesn’t relieve your pain.
- Don’t drive or drink alcohol while you’re taking prescription pain medication.
- As your incision heals, you will have less pain and need less pain medication. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®) will relieve aches and discomfort.
- Follow your doctor or nurse’s instructions for stopping your prescription pain medication.
- Don’t take more acetaminophen than the amount directed on the bottle or as instructed by your doctor or nurse. Taking too much acetaminophen can harm your liver.
- Pain medication should help you resume your normal activities. Take enough medication to do your exercises comfortably. However, it’s normal for your pain to increase slightly as you increase your level of activity.
- Keep track of when you take your pain medication. It works best 30 to 45 minutes after you take it. Taking it when your pain first begins is more effective than waiting for the pain to get worse.
Pain medication may cause constipation (having fewer bowel movements than what’s normal for you).
How can I prevent constipation?
Your normal bowel pattern may change after surgery. You may have trouble passing stool (feces). Talk with your nurse about how to manage constipation. You can also follow the guidelines below.
- Go to the bathroom at the same time every day. Your body will get used to going at that time. However, if you feel the urge to go, don’t put it off.
- Try to use the bathroom 5 to 15 minutes after meals. After breakfast is a good time to move your bowels. The reflexes in your colon are strongest at this time.
- Exercise, if you can. Walking is an excellent form of exercise.
- Drink 8 (8-ounce) glasses (2 liters) of liquids daily, if you can. Drink water, juices, soups, ice cream shakes, and other drinks that don’t have caffeine. Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee and soda, pull fluid out of your body.
- Slowly increase the fiber in your diet to 25 to 35 grams per day. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cereals contain fiber. If you have an ostomy or have had recent bowel surgery, check with your doctor or nurse before making any changes in your diet.
- Take docusate sodium (Colace®) 3 times a day. This is a stool softener that causes few side effects. Don’t take it with mineral oil. Do not take any over-the-counter laxatives.
If you haven’t had a bowel movement in 2 days, call your doctor or nurse.
For more information, read our resource Constipation.
Can I shower?
Yes. Taking a warm shower is relaxing and can help decrease muscle aches.
When you shower, remove your bandages and use soap to gently wash your incision. Pat the areas dry with a clean towel after showering. Leave your incision uncovered, unless there’s drainage. Call your doctor if you see any redness or drainage from your incision.
Don’t take tub baths until you discuss it with your doctor at the first appointment after your surgery.
Can I drink alcohol after surgery?
Don’t drink alcohol while you’re taking pain medications.
How do I care for my incision?
It’s normal for the skin below your incision to feel numb, because some of the nerves were cut. The numbness will go away over time.
Change your bandages at least once a day, or more often if they become wet with drainage. When there’s no longer any drainage coming from your incision, it can be left uncovered.
If any fluid is draining from your incision, write down the amount and color. Call your doctor’s office and tell the nurse about any drainage from your incision.
If you go home with Steri-Strips on your incision, they will loosen and fall off by themselves. If you go home with Dermabond on your incision, it will also loosen and peel off by itself. If the Steri-Strips and Dermabond haven’t fallen off within 10 days, you may remove them.
Is it normal to feel tired after surgery?
Yes, feeling tired (fatigue) is common after surgery, and may last for 6 to 8 weeks. This will improve slowly over time. Try to increase your activity level every day to help manage your fatigue. Get up, get dressed, and walk. You may need a nap during the day, but try to stay out of bed as much as possible so you will sleep at night.
Can I resume my activities?
It’s important for you to resume your activities after surgery. Spread them out over the course of the day. You can do light household tasks. Try dusting, washing dishes, preparing light meals, and other activities as you are able.
You may return to your usual sexual activity as soon as your incisions are well healed and you can do so without pain or fatigue.
Your body is an excellent guide for telling you when you have done too much. When you increase your activity, monitor your body’s reaction. You may find that you have more energy in the morning or the afternoon. Plan your activities for times of the day when you have more energy.
When is it safe for me to drive?
You can start driving again 1 month after your surgery, as long as you aren’t taking pain medication that may make you drowsy.
When can I return to work?
The time it takes to return to work depends on the type of work you do, the type of surgery you had, and how fast your body heals. Usually you can return to work 3 to 6 weeks after surgery. However, if your job requires heavy lifting or physical labor, it may be 3 months before you can return to work.
What exercises can I do?
Doing aerobic exercise, such as walking and stair climbing, will help you gain strength and feel better. Gradually increase the distance you walk. Climb stairs slowly, resting or stopping as needed.
Ask your doctor or nurse before starting more demanding exercises.
When can I lift heavy objects?
Ask your doctor when it’s safe for you to lift heavy objects after your surgery. Most people shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds (2.27 kilograms) for at least 6 weeks after surgery.
How can I cope with my feelings?
After surgery for a serious illness, you may have new and upsetting feelings. Many people say they felt weepy, sad, worried, nervous, irritable, and angry at one time or another. You may find that you can’t control some of these feelings. If this happens, it’s a good idea to seek emotional support.
The first step in coping is to talk about how you feel. Family and friends can help. Your nurse, doctor, and social worker can reassure, support, and guide you. It’s always a good idea to let these professionals know how you, your family, and your friends are feeling emotionally. Many resources are available to patients and their families. Whether you’re in the hospital or at home, the nurses, doctors, and social workers are here to help you and your family and friends handle the emotional aspects of your illness.
When is my first appointment after my surgery?
Your first appointment after surgery will be 3 to 4 weeks after your surgery. Your nurse will give you instructions on how to make this appointment, including the phone number to call.
During this appointment, your doctor will discuss your pathology results with you in detail.
What if I have other questions?
If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your doctor or nurse. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, call 212-639-2000 and ask for the doctor on call for your doctor.
- A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
- Pain that doesn’t get better with your medication
- Redness, swelling, or drainage from your incisions that is foul smelling (smells bad) or is pus-like (thick or yellow)
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Calf pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Any new symptom or physical change
- Any questions or concerns
This section includes a list of MSK support services, as well as the resources that were referred to throughout this guide. These resources will help you prepare for your surgery and recover safely. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
- Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment
- Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery
- Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA)
- How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer
- Sperm Banking
Call if you have any questions about anesthesia.
Blood Donor Room
Call for more information if you’re interested in donating blood or platelets.
Bobst International Center
MSK welcomes patients from around the world. If you’re an international patient, call for help arranging your care.
At MSK, our chaplains are available to listen, help support family members, pray, contact community clergy or faith groups, or simply be a comforting companion and a spiritual presence. Anyone can request spiritual support, regardless of formal religious affiliation. The interfaith chapel is located near the main lobby of Memorial Hospital and is open 24 hours a day. If you have an emergency, please call the hospital operator and ask for the chaplain on call.
Many people find that counseling helps them. We provide counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups, as well as medications to help if you feel anxious or depressed.
Integrative Medicine Service
Integrative Medicine Service offers many services to complement (go along with) traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy.
Look Good Feel Better Program
This program offers workshops to learn things you can do to help you feel better about your appearance. For more information or to sign up for a workshop, call the number above or visit the program’s website.
Patient and Caregiver Support Program
You may find it comforting to speak with a cancer survivor or caregiver who has been through a similar treatment. Through our Patient and Caregiver Support Program, you’re able to speak with former patients and caregivers.
Call if you have any questions about preauthorization with your insurance company. This is also called preapproval.
Patient Representative Office
Call if you have questions about the Health Care Proxy form or if you have concerns about your care.
Perioperative Nurse Liaison
Call if you have questions about MSK releasing any information while you’re having surgery.
Private Duty Nursing Office
You may request private nurses or companions. Call for more information.
Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program
At MSK, care doesn’t end after active treatment. The RLAC Program is for patients and their families who have finished treatment. This program has many services, including seminars, workshops, support groups, counseling on life after treatment, and help with insurance and employment issues.
Social workers help patients, family, and friends deal with issues that are common for cancer patients. They provide individual counseling and support groups throughout the course of treatment, and can help you communicate with children and other family members. Our social workers can also help refer you to community agencies and programs, as well as financial resources if you’re eligible.
Tobacco Treatment Program
If you want to quit smoking, MSK has specialists who can help. Call for more information.
For additional online information, visit LIBGUIDES on MSK’s library website at http://library.mskcc.org. You can also contact the library reference staff at 212-639-7439 for help.
In New York City, the MTA offers a shared ride, door-to-door service for people with disabilities who can’t take the public bus or subway.
Air Charity Network
Provides travel to treatment centers.
American Cancer Society (ACS)
Offers a variety of information and services, including Hope Lodge, a free place for patients and caregivers to stay during cancer treatment.
Cancer and Careers
A resource for education, tools, and events for employees with cancer.
275 Seventh Avenue (Between West 25th & 26th Streets)
New York, NY 10001
Provides counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications, and financial assistance.
Cancer Support Community
Provides support and education to people affected by cancer.
Caregiver Action Network
Provides education and support for people who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability.
Corporate Angel Network
Offers free travel to treatment across the country using empty seats on corporate jets.
A place where men, women, and children living with cancer find social and emotional support through networking, workshops, lectures, and social activities.
Offers financial assistance to pay for copayments during treatment. Patients must have medical insurance, meet the income criteria, and be prescribed medication that’s part of the Good Days formulary.
Provides financial assistance to cover copayments, health care premiums, and deductibles for certain medications and therapies.
Provides a list of places to stay near treatment centers for people with cancer and their families.
LGBT Cancer Project
Provides support and advocacy for the LGBT community, including online support groups and a database of LGBT-friendly clinical trials.
Provides reproductive information and support to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments have risks associated with infertility.
National Cancer Institute
National Cancer Legal Services Network
Free cancer legal advocacy program.
National LGBT Cancer Network
Provides education, training, and advocacy for LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk.
Lists Patient Assistance Programs for brand and generic name medications.
Provides prescription benefits to eligible employees and retirees of public sector employers in New York State.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get free or low-cost medications.
Patient Access Network Foundation
Provides assistance with copayments for patients with insurance.
Patient Advocate Foundation
Provides access to care, financial assistance, insurance assistance, job retention assistance, and access to the national underinsured resource directory.
Provides assistance to help people get medications that they have trouble affording.