About Your Vulvar Surgery

​​This guide will help you prepare for your vulvar surgery 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 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 will refer to it throughout your care.

​About Your Surgery

About Your Vulva

Vulva is another name for your external sex organs, or genitals (see Figure 1). Your vulva includes:

  • The inner and outer lips of your labia.
  • Your clitoris.
  • The opening of your vagina.
  • Your vaginal glands, which are in the area between your vulva and anus (the perineum).

Vulvar cancer is cancer in any of the organs that make up the vulva.

Figure 1. Your vulva
 

Types of Vulvar Surgeries

You may be having vulvar surgery to treat vulvar cancer or to remove tissue that may become vulvar cancer. A surgery to remove all or part of the vulva is called a vulvectomy.

There are several kinds of vulvectomies. The type of vulvectomy that you have will depend on how large your tumor is and whether it has spread to your nearby lymph nodes. The types of vulvectomies are:

  • Partial simple vulvectomy, in which a part of your vulva and the top layers of nearby tissue are removed.
  • Partial radical vulvectomy, in which a part of your vulva and the deep layers of nearby tissue are removed (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. An example of a partial radical vulvectomy
  • Complete simple vulvectomy, in which your entire vulva is removed. Sometimes this is also called a simple vulvectomy.
  • Complete radical vulvectomy, in which your entire vulva, the deep tissue around it, and the surrounding lymph nodes are removed (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. An example of a complete radical vulvectomy

You and your doctor will discuss the type of vulvectomy that you’re having.

Some women choose to have reconstruction as a part of their surgery. If you’re having reconstruction, a plastic surgeon may help with that part of the surgery.

Most women are able to resume their normal sexual activities after their incisions have healed. However, this depends on the extent of the surgery and the areas of the vulva that were removed. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about sexual activities after your surgery.

About Your Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic system is part of your immune system (see Figure 4). It’s made up of:

  • Lymph nodes, which are small, bean-shaped structures located along your lymphatic vessels. Your lymph nodes filter out bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and other waste products.
  • Lymphatic vessels, which are tiny tubes (similar to blood vessels) that carry lymphatic fluid to and from your lymph nodes.
  • Lymphatic fluid, which is the clear fluid that travels through your lymphatic system. It carries cells that help fight infections and other diseases
Figure 4. Your lymphatic system

Sometimes, cancer cells can enter lymphatic vessels and travel to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of your body. A sentinel lymph node (also known as a sentinel node) is the first lymph node or group of nodes that receives drainage from the tumor. This is the first place where cancer cells are most likely to spread.

Lymph Node Dissection

Sometimes, vulvar cancer can spread to your lymph nodes. Your doctor may recommend that you have a lymph node dissection, which is the removal of one or more lymph nodes.

Your doctor may do a sentinel lymph node biopsy during your surgery to see if the cancer has spread outside of your vulva. During a sentinel lymph node biopsy, your doctor will inject a special dye into your vulva to identify your sentinel lymph node or group of nodes. Once your doctor sees which lymph node is the sentinel node, they will remove it and send it to the pathology department to be checked for cancer cells.

If any cancer cells are found in the sentinel node(s), you may have a groin lymph node dissection. A groin lymph node dissection is removal of most or all of the lymph nodes in your groin. The number of nodes varies from person to person. It can be done on 1 or both sides of your perineum.

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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 prepare 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, including patches and creams.
  • I take any over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or 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 that you talk with your healthcare providers about your alcohol intake so that we can 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 use alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other complications during and after 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 doctor 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.

About Smoking

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.

Within 30 Days 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 medication to put you to sleep 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 necessary 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 if you bring the following with you to your PST appointment:

  • A list of all the medications you’re taking, including 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).

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 with you 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 How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer. If you have any questions, ask your nurse or respiratory therapist.

Exercise

Try to do aerobic exercise every day, such as 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

You should 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.

10 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Vitamin E

If you take vitamin E, stop taking it 10 days before your surgery because it can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Figure 5. Hibiclens skin cleanser

Purchase Supplies

If you’re having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, you will need to shower using Hibiclens before your surgery (see Figure 5). Hibiclens is a skin cleanser that kills germs for 24 hours after using it. Showering with Hibiclens before surgery will help lower your risk of infection after surgery. You can buy Hibiclens at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

If you’re not having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, you don’t need to buy Hibiclens.

7 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Certain Medications

If you take aspirin, ask your surgeon if you should continue. Aspirin and medications that contain aspirin can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Stop Taking Herbal Remedies and Supplements

Stop taking herbal remedies or supplements 7 days before your surgery. If you take a multivitamin, talk with your doctor or nurse about if you should continue. For more information, read Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.

2 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Certain Medications

Stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®). These medications can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

1 Day Before Your Surgery

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 you should arrive at the hospital for your surgery. The clerk will also tell you where to go on the day of your surgery. If you don’t receive a call by 7:00 pm, call 212-639-5014.

Shower with Hibiclens, if Needed

If you’re having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, shower using Hibiclens on the night before your surgery. To use Hibiclens, open the bottle and pour some solution into your hand or a washcloth. Move away from the shower stream to avoid rinsing off the Hibiclens too soon. Rub it gently over your body from your neck to your waist and rinse.

Don’t let the solution get into your eyes, ears, mouth, or genital area. Don’t use any other soap. Dry yourself off with a clean towel after your shower.

If you’re not having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, you can shower as usual.

Sleep

Go to bed early and get a full night’s sleep.

Instructions for Eating and Drinking Before Your Procedure

12 ounces of water

  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your procedure. 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.

The Morning of Your Surgery

Shower with Hibiclens, if needed

If you’re having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, shower using Hibiclens just before you leave. Use the Hibiclens the same way you did the night before. Don’t use any other soap. Don’t put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, or perfume after your shower.

If you’re not having a sentinel lymph node biopsy or a groin lymph node dissection, you can shower as usual. Don’t put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, 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, or perfume.
  • 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 valuables, 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.

  • 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 it.
  • This guide. Your healthcare team will use this guide to teach you how to care for yourself after your surgery.

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.
  • Talk with you about your comfort and safety during your surgery.
  • Talk with you about the kind of anesthesia you will receive.
  • Answer any questions you may have about your anesthesia.
Prepare For 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 Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery.

What to Expect

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 circulation 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. You will also have a urinary catheter (Foley®) placed to drain urine from your bladder.

During your surgery, your surgeon will make one or more incisions (surgical cuts) in your vulvar area. Your surgeon will then remove the tumor, as well as all or part of your vulva. Your surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes in your groin.

If you’re having reconstruction as part of your surgery, your surgeon may work with a plastic surgeon for that portion of the surgery. At the end of the procedure, your surgeon will close the incision with sutures (stitches).

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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.

In the Hospital

When you wake up, you will be in a recovery room or the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Some people may stay in the PACU overnight for observation.

Because of the area where your surgery was, sitting may be uncomfortable or may harm your incisions. Don’t sit until your nurse tells you that you can. Once you know it’s okay to sit, be sure to use a soft pillow or donut (soft inflatable plastic ring) to protect your incision.

While you’re in the PACU, you will get oxygen through a thin tube that rests below your nose called a nasal cannula. A nurse will be monitoring your body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.

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.

Your Drains and Incisions

You will have tubes, drains, and bandages on and around your vulvar area. They may include:

  • A catheter or drainage tube to drain urine from your bladder.
  • A Jackson-Pratt drain, if any of your lymph nodes were removed. This will help drain the fluid from your groin area and control lymphedema (swelling).

You may also have:

  • An IV line to give you fluids.
  • A pain pump called a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. If you have a PCA device, read our resource Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) for more information.
  • Compression boots on your calves to help blood circulate. These will stay on whenever you’re in bed until you’re discharged.

Your vulvar incision(s) will be closed with sutures that may loosen over time. A small amount of reddish drainage is normal. The incision(s) in your groin will be closed with staples or sutures. These will remain in place until you see your surgeon about 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

You may go home with the drains still in place as well. If so, your nurse will teach you how to care for them before you leave the hospital.

Be sure to look at your incisions with your nurse before you leave the hospital so you know what they look like and can notice any changes. Your nurse will also teach you how to care for your incisions at home. They will give you a peri-bottle (a small plastic bottle with a squirt tip) for cleaning your vulvar incisions (around your vulva and perineum) and will show you how to use it.

Managing Your Pain

You will have pain or discomfort at your incision sites. 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 cough, breathe deeply, use your incentive spirometer, and get out of bed and walk. You will get a prescription for pain medication to take when you go home.

At Home

You will need time to heal and recover. Some women need longer to heal than others. Ask your healthcare provider what you should expect. They can tell you more based on the surgery you had and how much tissue was removed.

For the first 3 to 4 weeks, you will only be able sit with the help of a soft pillow or donut. You can purchase a donut from a local surgical supply store, or you can order one online.

You will be able to lie down or stand. If you had major surgery or reconstructive surgery, you may not be able to sit for up to 8 weeks. Your nurse will work with you to design a care plan that focuses on finding positions that are most comfortable for you.

Caring for Your Incisions

Wound healing after vulvar surgery has its own unique challenges related to where the incisions are located. The moisture and rubbing that happens with daily activities is a natural challenge to vulvar wound healing. Urinating may be painful.

To keep your incisions clean:

  • Using your peri-bottle, wash your vulvar and anal areas with warm water after each time you urinate or have a bowel movement.
  • Use a sitz bath or hand spray shower at least 2 times every day.
  • Shower every day, using soap and water.

To dry your incisions, pat them dry with a clean towel or use the “cool” setting on a hair dryer. Do not rub your incisions.

Here are some tips to make you more comfortable while your incision(s) are healing:

  • Apply ice packs to the affected area as directed.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing: either underwear that is a size larger or men’s boxer shorts.
  • Keep the area open to air at night.

You will see your surgeon about 2 to 4 weeks after surgery to check your incisions and remove any remaining staples, sutures, or drains.

Eating and Drinking

Eating a balanced diet high in protein will help you heal after surgery. Your diet should include a healthy protein source at each meal, as well as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For more tips on increasing the amount of calories and protein in your diet, read our resource Eating Well During and After Your Cancer Treatment. If you have questions about your diet, ask to see a dietitian.

About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is swelling that usually occurs in the arms, legs, or both. It’s usually caused by the removal of lymph nodes. If you had a groin lymph node dissection, you may have lymphedema in the leg on the side the nodes were removed.

There are many things you can do to help prevent and manage lymphedema. For more information, read our resource Reducing Your Risk of Lymphedema of the Legs or watch our videos, About Lymphedema of the Legs and Treatment for Lymphedema of the Legs.

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Emotional Support

This surgery will change your body, and it will probably take time for you to adjust to these changes. You may feel frightened, angry, or worried. You may have questions or fears about how this surgery will impact your sexuality and sexual activities These feelings are normal and occur in most people.

Each person adjusts in their own way. For some people, it will take a few months to adjust to a changed body image. For other people, it may take longer. As time goes on, you will get stronger emotionally and physically. You will become more comfortable with your appearance. Your appetite and energy will improve. Before too long, you will be able to resume most of your normal activities.

We have many resources to help you. Your doctors and nurses will answer your questions. We also have social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who have helped many women through this change. You can have one-on-one counseling or you can join one of our online or in-person support groups. We also have clergy available for spiritual support.

You may be able to meet with another woman who has had this surgery, and who can talk with you and answer your questions. Speak with your nurse if you’re interested in doing this.

Every new situation requires time to adjust. We’re here to help you through this time.

Your Sexuality after Surgery

Talk with your doctor about when it’s safe for you to resume sexual activities. This is usually after your incision is fully healed.

Most women who have a partial or a simple vulvectomy are able to resume their normal sexual activities after their incisions have healed. If you had a complete radical vulvectomy, received radiation therapy before your surgery, or had extensive reconstruction around your vaginal opening, you may experience vaginal tightness that can make intercourse difficult. Using lubrication can help.

To address issues with sexual health and intimacy, ask to see someone from our Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program. For more information or to make an appointment, call 646-888-5076.

Call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • Increased discomfort in the area
  • Increased swelling
  • Drainage or foul odor
  • A temperature of 101º F (38.3º C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty urinating

After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, call 212-639-2000. Ask to speak with the doctor on call for your surgeon.

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MSK Resources

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.

Anesthesia
212-639-6840
Call with any questions about anesthesia.

Blood Donor Room
212-639-7643
Call for more information if you’re interested in donating blood or platelets.

Bobst International Center
888-675-7722
MSK welcomes patients from around the world. If you’re an international patient, call for help arranging your care.

Chaplaincy Service
212-639-5982
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.

Counseling Center
646-888-0200
Many people find counseling helpful. We provide counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups, as well as medications to help if you feel anxious or depressed.

Integrative Medicine Service
646-888-0800
Integrative Medicine Service offers patients many services to complement traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy.

Look Good Feel Better Program
800-227-2345
Learn techniques to help you feel better about your appearance by taking a workshop or visiting the program online at www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.

Patient-to-Patient Support Program
212-639-5007
You may find it comforting to speak with a cancer survivor or caregiver who has been through a similar treatment. Through our Patient-to-Patient Support Program, we are able to offer you a chance to speak with former patients and caregivers.

Patient Billing
646-227-3378
Call Patient Billing with any questions regarding preauthorization with your insurance company. This is also called preapproval.

Patient Representative Office
212-639-7202
Call if you have any questions about the Health Care Proxy Form or if you have any concerns about your care.

Perioperative Nurse Liaison
212-639-5935
Call if you have any questions about MSK releasing any information while you’re having surgery.

Private Duty Nursing Office
212-639-6892
You may request private nurses or companions. Call for more information.

Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program
646-888-8106
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.

Sillerman Center for Rehabilitation
646-888-1900
15 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor
(Entrance on East 53rd Street, between Park and Madison Avenues)
Our rehabilitation specialists help people regain their strength, mobility, and functional independence.

Social Work
212-639-7020
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 referring you to community agencies and programs, as well as financial resources if you’re eligible.

Tobacco Treatment Program
212-610-0507
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.

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External Resources

Access-A-Ride
web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/guide.htm
877-337-2017
In New York City, the MTA offers a shared ride, door-to-door service for people with disabilities who are unable to take the public bus or subway.

Air Charity Network
www.aircharitynetwork.org
877-621-7177
Provides travel to treatment centers.

American Cancer Society (ACS)
www.cancer.org
800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345)
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
www.cancerandcareers.org
A comprehensive resource for education, tools, and events for employees with cancer.

CancerCare
www.cancercare.org
800-813-4673
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
www.cancersupportcommunity.org
Provides support and education to people affected by cancer.

Caregiver Action Network
www.caregiveraction.org
800-896-3650
Provides education and support for those who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability.

Corporate Angel Network
www.corpangelnetwork.org
866-328-1313
Offers free travel to treatment across the country using empty seats on corporate jets.

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC)
312-578-1439
www.wcn.org
A nonprofit organization that provides education and supports research on gynecologic cancers.

Gilda’s Club
www.gildasclubnyc.org
212-647-9700
A place where men, women, and children living with cancer find social and emotional support through networking, workshops, lectures, and social activities.

Good Days
www.mygooddays.org
877-968-7233
Offers financial assistance to pay for copayments during treatment. Patients must have medical insurance,meet the income criteria, and be prescribed medication that is part of the Good Days formulary.

Healthwell Foundation
www.healthwellfoundation.org
800-675-8416
Provides financial assistance to cover copayments, health care premiums, and deductibles for certain medications and therapies.

Joe’s House
www.joeshouse.org
877-563-7468
Provides a list of places to stay near treatment centers for people with cancer and their families.

LGBT Cancer Project
http://lgbtcancer.com/
Provides support and advocacy for the LGBT community, including a online support groups and a database of LGBT friendly clinical trials.

LIVESTRONG Fertility
www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/fertility-services
855-744-7777
Provides reproductive information and support to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments have risks associated with infertility.

National Cancer Institute
www.cancer.gov
800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237)

National Cancer Legal Services Network
www.nclsn.org
Free cancer legal advocacy program.

National LGBT Cancer Network
www.cancer-network.org
Provides education, training, and advocacy for LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk.

Needy Meds
www.needymeds.org
Lists Patient Assistance Programs for brand and generic name medications.

NYRx
www.nyrxplan.com
Provides prescription benefits to eligible employees and retirees of public sector employers in New York State.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
www.pparx.org
888-477-2669
Helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get free or low-cost medications.

Patient Access Network Foundation
www.panfoundation.org
866-316-7263
Provides assistance with copayments for patients with insurance.

Patient Advocate Foundation
www.patientadvocate.org
800-532-5274
Provides access to care, financial assistance, insurance assistance, job retention assistance, and access to the national underinsured resource directory.

RxHope
www.rxhope.com
877-267-0517
Provides assistance to help people obtain medications that they have trouble affording.

SHARE
www.sharecancersupport.org
866-891-2392
Offers support groups for survivors of breast, metastatic breast, and ovarian cancer in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

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