About Your Salivary Gland Surgery

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Time to Read: About 27 minutes

This guide will help you get ready for your salivary gland surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). It will also help you understand what to expect during your recovery.

Use this guide as a source of information in the days leading up to your surgery. Bring it 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 salivary glands

Your salivary glands make saliva, which helps your body digest food and keeps your mouth moist. Most of your saliva comes from your parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands (see Figure 1). There are also hundreds of smaller salivary glands in your mouth. They’re located under the membranes that line your mouth and throat.

Figure 1. Parotid, submandibular, and sublingual salivary glands

Figure 1. Parotid, submandibular, and sublingual salivary glands

Parotid glands

Your facial nerve runs through your parotid glands. This nerve controls the muscles in your face. These muscles let you make movements such as raising your eyebrows, closing your eyelids, and smiling. Most tumors found in the parotid gland are benign (not cancerous).

Submandibular glands

Your submandibular glands are the second largest of your salivary glands. They’re located below your mandible (jawbone) (see Figure 1). Most tumors found in the submandibular gland are benign.

Sublingual glands

The sublingual glands are the smallest of your salivary glands. They’re located on either side of your tongue, in the floor of your mouth (see Figure 1). Most tumors found in the sublingual gland are benign.

About salivary gland surgery

The type of surgery you have depends on the location of your salivary gland tumors. Your surgeon will tell you which surgery you’re having.

Here are descriptions of the different types of surgery.

Parotid gland surgery

Parotid gland tumors are the most common type of salivary gland tumor. There are 2 types of parotid gland tumors:

  • A superficial parotid gland tumor develops in the part of the gland that’s over your facial nerve.
  • A deep lobe parotid gland tumor develops in the part of the gland that’s under your facial nerve.

Surgery to treat parotid gland tumors is very precise. Your facial nerve must be protected during surgery. The goal is to remove the entire tumor without harming your facial nerve.

Your surgeon will use a nerve monitor to find your facial nerve. Then they will make an incision (surgical cut) in the front of your ear, down into your neck. They will separate your facial nerve and its branches from your parotid gland tumor. Your surgeon will remove the parotid gland tumor and send it to the Pathology Department to see if it contains cancer cells. Then they will close your incision with sutures (stitches).

Submandibular gland surgery

Your surgeon will make an incision in your upper neck, along your jaw. They’ll remove the tumor through this incision and send it to the Pathology Department to see if it contains cancer cells. Then, they’ll close your incision with sutures or Steri-Strips (surgical tape).

Sublingual gland surgery

Sublingual gland tumors are rare. Your surgeon will tell you your options for treating this tumor.

Facial changes after surgery

  • You may have some facial changes after your surgery. The types of changes depend on the surgery you had. Your doctor and nurse will talk with you about what to expect.
  • You may have some weakness in your facial muscles after your surgery. This is because your facial nerve was moved during your surgery. Unfortunately, we can’t prevent this. Facial weakness is usually minimal and gets better over weeks or months. If you have facial weakness, tell your nurse. They can refer you to a physical therapist.
  • You may have some lower lip weakness, which may affect your smile. This may be permanent on your affected side (the side where your surgery took place).
  • You may not be able to fully close your eye on your affected side. You’ll get ointment and eye drops to protect your eye.                                                                             
  • If you had parotid gland surgery, you may have some numbness of the earlobe on your affected side. This may be permanent.

Getting Ready for Your Surgery

This section will help you get ready for your surgery. Read it when your surgery is scheduled. Refer to it as your surgery gets closer. It has important information about what to do to get ready.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

Getting Ready for Surgery

You and your care 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’re not sure.

  • I take a blood thinner, such as:
    • Aspirin
    • Heparin
    • Warfarin (Jantoven® or Coumadin®)
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix®)
    • Enoxaparin (Lovenox®)
    • Dabigatran (Pradaxa®)
    • Apixaban (Eliquis®)
    • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®)
    There are others, so be sure your healthcare provider knows all the medications you’re taking.
  • I take prescription medications (medications my healthcare provider prescribes), 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, or natural or home remedies.
  • I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), or other heart device.
  • I have sleep apnea.
  • I’ve had a problem with anesthesia (medication to make me sleep during surgery) in the past.
  • I’m allergic to certain medication(s) or materials, including latex.
  • I’m not willing to receive a blood transfusion.
  • I drink alcohol.
  • I smoke or use an electronic smoking device, such as a vape pen, e-cigarette, or Juul®.
  • 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.

  • If you stop drinking alcohol suddenly, it can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know you’re at risk for these problems, we can prescribe medications to help keep them from happening.
  • If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other problems during and after your surgery. These include bleeding, infections, heart problems, and a longer hospital stay.

Here are things you can do before your surgery to keep from having problems:

  • Be honest with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink.
  • Try to stop drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:
    • Get a headache.
    • Feel nauseous (like you’re going to throw up).
    • Feel more anxious (nervous or worried) than usual.
    • Cannot sleep.
    These are early signs of alcohol withdrawal and can be treated.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you cannot stop drinking.
  • Ask your healthcare provider questions about drinking and surgery. As always, all your medical information will be kept private.

About Smoking

If you smoke, you can have breathing problems when you have surgery. Stopping for even a few days before your surgery can help.

MSK has specialists who can help you quit smoking. For more information about our Tobacco Treatment Program, call 212-610-0507. You can also ask your nurse about the program.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common breathing problem. It causes you to stop breathing for short lengths of time while you’re asleep. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, your airway becomes fully blocked during sleep.

OSA can cause serious problems during and after a procedure. Please tell us if you have or think you might have sleep apnea. If you use a breathing device (such as a CPAP machine), bring it on the day of your procedure.

Using MyMSK

MyMSK (my.mskcc.org) is your MSK patient portal account. You can use it to send and read messages from your care team, view your test results, see your appointment dates and times, and more. You can also invite your caregiver to make their own account so they can see information about your care.

If you do not have a MyMSK account, you can sign up at my.mskcc.org. You can get an enrollment ID by calling 646-227-2593 or your doctor’s office.

For help, watch How to Enroll in MyMSK: Memorial Sloan Kettering's Patient Portal. You can also contact the MyMSK Help Desk by emailing [email protected] or calling 800-248-0593.

Within 30 days of your surgery

Presurgical Testing (PST)

You’ll have a PST appointment before your surgery. The date, time, and location will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeon’s office. You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your appointment.

It’s helpful to bring these things to your 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 names and telephone numbers of your healthcare providers.

During your PST appointment, you’ll meet with a nurse practitioner (NP). They work closely with anesthesiology staff (specialized healthcare providers who will give you anesthesia during your surgery). Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests to plan your care. Examples are:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm.
  • A chest X-ray.
  • Blood tests.

Your NP may recommend you see other healthcare providers. They’ll also talk with you about which medications to take the morning of your surgery.

Identify Your Caregiver

Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. Before your surgery, you and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare providers. After your surgery, your caregiver will take you home when you’re discharged from the hospital. They’ll also help you care for yourself at home.

For Caregivers

‌  Caring for a person going through cancer treatment comes with many responsibilities. MSK offers resources and support to help you manage them. For information, visit www.mskcc.org/caregivers or read A Guide for Caregivers.

Complete a Health Care Proxy Form

If you have not already filled out a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you do now. If you already filled one out or have any other advance directives, bring them to your next appointment.

A health care proxy is a legal document. It says who will speak for you if you cannot communicate for yourself. This person is called your health care agent.

  • For information about health care proxies and other advance directives, read Advance Care Planning.
  • For information about being a health care agent, read How to Be a Health Care Agent.
  • If you have more questions about filling out a Health Care Proxy form, talk with your healthcare provider.

Exercise

Exercising will help your body get into its best condition for your surgery and make your recovery faster and easier.

Try to do aerobic exercise every day. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that makes your heart beat faster, such as walking, swimming, or biking. If it’s cold outside, use stairs in your home or go to a mall or shopping center.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Follow a well-balanced, healthy diet before your surgery. If you need help with your diet, talk with your healthcare provider about meeting with a clinical dietitian nutritionist.

7 days before your surgery

Follow Your Healthcare Provider’s Instructions for Taking Aspirin

If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Aspirin can cause bleeding.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Do not stop taking aspirin unless they tell you to.

For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), or Vitamin E.

Stop Taking Vitamin E, Multivitamins, Herbal Remedies, and Other Dietary Supplements

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements 7 days before your surgery. These things can cause bleeding.

If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.

For more information, read Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.

2 days before your surgery

Stop Taking Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Stop taking NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil® and Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®), 2 days before your surgery. NSAIDs can cause bleeding.

If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.

For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), or Vitamin E.

1 day before your surgery

Note the Time of Your Surgery

A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, they’ll call you the Friday before. If you do not get a call by , call 212-639-5014.

The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. They’ll also remind you where to go.

This will be one of the following locations:

  • Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 2nd floor
    1275 York Avenue (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
    New York, NY 10065
    Take the M elevator to the 2nd floor.
  • Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 6th floor
    1275 York Avenue (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
    New York, NY 10065
    Take the B elevator to the 6th floor.

Instructions for Eating Before Your Surgery

‌  
Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.



 

The morning of your surgery

Instructions for Drinking Before Your Surgery

‌  You can drink a total of 12 ounces of water between midnight and 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else.

Do not drink anything starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This includes water.

Take Your Medications As Instructed

A member of your care team will tell you which medications to take the morning of your surgery. Take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.

Things to remember

  • Wear something comfortable and loose-fitting.
  • If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Wearing contact lenses during surgery can damage your eyes.
  • 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.
  • Don’t put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne.
  • Leave valuable items (such as credit cards, jewelry, and your checkbook) at home.
  • If you’re menstruating (have your monthly period), use a sanitary pad, not a tampon. You’ll get disposable underwear, as well as a pad if needed.

What to bring

  • Your breathing device for sleep apnea (such as your CPAP device), if you have one.
  • Your Health Care Proxy form and other advance directives, if you have completed them.
  • Your cell phone and charger.
  • Only the money you may want for small purchases (such as a newspaper).
  • 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 it to teach you how to care for yourself after surgery.

Where To Park

Memorial Hospital parking map

MSK’s parking garage is on East 66th Street between York and 1st 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 about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue. It’s on the right (north) side of the street. There’s a tunnel you can walk through that connects the garage to the hospital.

There are other parking garages located on:

  • East 69th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.
  • East 67th Street between York and 1st avenues.
  • East 65th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.

Once you’re in the hospital

Check in at the desk in the PSC waiting room. You’ll be asked to say and spell your name and birth date many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or a similar name may be having surgery on the same day.

When it’s time to change for surgery, you’ll get a hospital gown, robe, and nonskid socks to wear.

Meet With a Nurse

You’ll meet with a nurse before surgery. Tell them the dose of any medications you took after midnight and the time you took them. Make sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.

Your nurse may place an intravenous (IV) line in one of your veins, usually in your arm or hand. If your nurse does not place the IV, your anesthesiologist will do it in the operating room.

Meet With an Anesthesiologist

You’ll also meet with an anesthesiologist before surgery. They 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’ll get.
  • Answer your questions about your anesthesia.

Get Ready For Your Surgery

When it’s time for your surgery, you’ll remove your eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic devices, wig, and religious articles.

You’ll either walk into the operating room or a staff member will bring you there on a stretcher. A member of your care team will help you onto a bed. They will put compression boots 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 to make you fall asleep. You’ll also get fluids through your IV during and after your surgery.

During your surgery

After you’re fully asleep, a breathing tube will be placed through your mouth and into your windpipe to help you breathe. A urinary (Foley) catheter will also be placed to drain urine (pee) from your bladder.

Once your surgery is finished, your incision will be closed with sutures (stitches), Steri-Strips (thin pieces of surgical tape), or Dermabond® (surgical glue). Your incisions may be covered with a bandage.

Your breathing tube is usually taken out while you’re still in the operating room.

Recovering After Your Surgery

This section will help you know what to expect after your surgery. You’ll learn how to safely recover from your surgery both in the hospital and at home.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

In the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

When you wake up after your surgery, you’ll be in the PACU. A nurse will be keeping track of your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. You may get oxygen through a tube resting below your nose or a mask covering your nose and mouth. You may also have compression boots on your lower legs. These gently inflate and deflate to help blood flow in your legs.

Tubes and drains

You may have one or more of the following:

  • Drainage tubes near your incision. These help drain fluid from your surgical wound. If you have drainage tubes, they’ll be removed before you’re discharged from the hospital.   
  • A face mask and humidifier to keep your airway moist.

Moving to your hospital room

Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may stay in the PACU for a few hours or overnight. After your stay in the PACU, you’ll be taken to your hospital room.

In your hospital room

The length of time you’re in the hospital after your surgery depends on your recovery. Most people stay in the hospital for 1 to 4 days.

When you’re taken to your hospital room, you’ll meet one of the nurses who will care for you while you’re in the hospital. Soon after you arrive in your room, your nurse will help you out of bed and into your chair.

While you’re in the hospital, your healthcare providers will teach you how to care for yourself while you’re recovering from your surgery. 

Read the 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.

Managing your pain

Most people have very little pain after this surgery. You’ll probably have numbness, but it will go away with time.

At first, you’ll get pain medication through your IV line. Once you’re able to eat, you’ll get oral pain medication (medication you swallow). 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 healthcare provider.

You may be given a prescription for pain medication before you leave the hospital. Talk with your healthcare provider about possible side effects and when you should start switching to over-the-counter pain medications.

Moving Around and Walking

Moving around and walking will help lower your risk for blood clots and pneumonia (lung infection). It will also help you start passing gas and having bowel movements (pooping) again. Your nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist will help you move around, if needed.

Read Frequently Asked Questions About Walking After Your Surgery to learn more about how walking after surgery can help you recover.

Read Call! Don't Fall! to learn what you can do to stay safe and keep from falling while you’re in the hospital.

Exercising Your Lungs

It’s important to exercise your lungs so they expand fully. This helps prevent pneumonia.

  • Use your incentive spirometer 10 times every hour you’re awake. For more information, read How To Use Your Incentive Spirometer.
  • Do coughing and deep breathing exercises. A member of your care team will teach you how.

Eating and drinking

Most people can go back to following their usual diet soon after surgery.

Some people follow a mechanical soft diet right after surgery. A mechanical soft diet is made up of foods that need less chewing than in a regular diet. If you’ll need to follow this diet, your nurse will give you more information.

If you have questions about your diet, ask to see a clinical dietitian nutritionist.

Leaving the hospital

Before you leave the hospital, look at your incision with your nurse. Knowing what your incision looks like will help you notice any changes later.

Before you leave, your doctor will write your discharge order and prescriptions. You’ll also get written discharge instructions. Your nurse will review these instructions with you before you leave.

If your ride isn’t at the hospital when you’re ready to be discharged, you may be able to wait in the Patient Transition Lounge. A member of your healthcare team will give you more information

At home

Read the 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.

Filling out your Recovery Tracker

We want to know how you’re feeling after you leave the hospital. To help us continue caring for you, we’ll send questions to your MyMSK account every day for 10 days after you leave the hospital. These questions are known as your Recovery Tracker.

Fill out your Recovery Tracker every day before midnight (12 a.m.). It only takes 2 to 3 minutes. Your answers to these questions will help us understand how you’re feeling and what you need.

Based on your answers, we may reach out to you for more information or ask you to call your surgeon’s office. You can always contact your surgeon’s office if you have any questions. For more information, read About Your Recovery Tracker.

Managing your pain

People have pain or discomfort for different lengths of time. Some people have numbness, soreness, tightness, or muscle aches around their incision for 6 months or longer. This doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

Follow these guidelines to help manage your pain at home.

  • Take your medications as directed and as needed.
  • Call your healthcare provider if the medication prescribed for you does not help your pain.
  • Do not drive or drink alcohol while you’re taking prescription pain medication. Some prescription pain medications can make you drowsy (very sleepy). Alcohol can make the drowsiness worse.
  • As your incision(s) heal, you’ll have less pain and need less pain medication. An over-the-counter pain reliever will help with aches and discomfort. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) are examples of over-the-counter pain relievers.
    • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for stopping your prescription pain medication.
    • Do not take too much of any medication. Follow the instructions on the label or from your healthcare provider.
    • Read the labels on all the medications you’re taking. This is very important if you’re taking acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an ingredient in many over-the-counter and prescription medications. Taking too much can harm your liver. Do not take more than one medication that has acetaminophen without talking with a member of your care team.
  • Pain medication should help you get back to your normal activities. Take enough medication to do your activities and exercises comfortably. It’s normal for your pain to increase a little as you start to be more active.
  • Keep track of when you take your pain medication. It works best 30 to 45 minutes after you take it. Taking it when you first have pain is better than waiting for the pain to get worse.

Caring for your incision

The location of your incision will depend on the type of surgery you had. It’s normal for the skin below your incision to feel numb. This happens because some of your nerves were cut during your surgery. The numbness will go away over time.

You might notice a small amount of fluid draining from your incision. This is normal for the first couple of days after surgery. If the drainage is thick or pus-like, call your doctor.

If you go home with sutures in your incision, your doctor will take them out during your first appointment after surgery, about 7 to 10 days after you leave the hospital. It’s okay to get them wet.

If you go home with Steri-Strips or Dermabond on your incision, they’ll loosen and fall or peel off by themselves. If they haven’t fallen off within 10 days, you can take them off.

Showering

Taking a warm shower is relaxing and can help decrease muscle aches. Let the soapy water from your hair or head run over your incision. It’s best to avoid putting soap directly on your incision.

Pat the areas dry with a towel after showering, and leave your incision uncovered, unless there’s drainage. Call your doctor if you see any redness or thick, pus-like drainage from your incision.

Physical activity and exercise

When you leave the hospital, your incision may look like it’s healed on the outside, but it won’t be healed on the inside. For the first 2 weeks after your surgery:

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (about 4.5 kilograms).
  • Don’t do any strenuous activities (such as jogging and tennis).
  • Don’t play any contact sports (such as football).

Doing aerobic exercise, such as walking and stair climbing, will help you gain strength and feel better. Walk at least 2 to 3 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes. You can walk outside or indoors at your local mall or shopping center.

Ask your healthcare provider before starting more strenuous exercises.

Driving

Most people can start driving again after their first follow-up visit after surgery. Don’t drive while you’re taking pain medication that may make you drowsy. You can ride in a car as a passenger at any time after you leave the hospital.

Going Back to Work

Talk with your healthcare provider about your job. They’ll tell you when it may be safe for you to start working again based on what you do. If you move around a lot or lift heavy objects, you may need to stay out a little longer. If you sit at a desk, you may be able to go back sooner.

Follow-up appointments

Your first appointment after surgery will be 7 to 10 days after you leave the hospital. Your nurse will give you instructions on how to make this appointment, including the phone number to call.

Test results

Test results are usually ready in 1 week, but they can take longer depending on the exact tests that are done. Your doctor will talk with you about your results during your first follow-up appointment after your surgery.

Managing your 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 cannot control some of these feelings. If this happens, it’s a good idea to seek emotional support. Your healthcare provider can refer you to MSK’s Counseling Center. You can also reach them by calling 646-888-0200.

The first step in coping is to talk about how you feel. Family and friends can help. Your healthcare providers can reassure, support, and guide you. It’s always a good idea to let us know how you, your family, and your friends are feeling emotionally. Many resources are available to you and your family. Whether you’re in the hospital or at home, we’re here to help you and your family and friends handle the emotional aspects of your illness.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • You have a fever of 100.5 °F (38 °C) or higher.
  • You have chills.
  • You’re having trouble breathing.
  • The skin around your incision is warmer than usual.
  • The skin around your incision is hot or hard to touch.
  • The skin around your incision is getting redder.
  • The area around your incision is starting to swell.
  • The area around your incision is getting more swollen.
  • You have thick or pus-like discharge from your incision.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

Monday through Friday from to , contact your healthcare provider’s office.

After , during the weekend, and on holidays, call 212-639-2000 and ask to speak to the person on call for your healthcare provider.

Support Services

This section has a list of support services. They may help you as you get ready for your surgery and recover after your surgery.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

MSK Support Services

Visit the Cancer Types section of MSK’s website at www.mskcc.org/types for more information.

Admitting Office
212-639-7606
Call if you have questions about your hospital admission, such as asking for a private room.

Anesthesia
212-639-6840
Call if you have questions about anesthesia.

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

Bobst International Center
888-675-7722
We welcome patients from around the world and offer many services to help. If you’re an international patient, call for help arranging your care.

Caregivers Clinic
646-888-0200
www.mskcc.org/caregivers
At MSK, the Caregivers Clinic provides support specifically for caregivers who are having difficulty coping with the demands of being a caregiver. For more information, call Dr. Allison Applebaum’s office at 646-888-0200.

Counseling Center
646-888-0200
Many people find that counseling helps them. Our counseling center offers counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups. We can also prescribe medications to help if you feel anxious or depressed. To make an appointment, ask your healthcare provider for a referral or call the number above.

Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program
646-888-5076
Cancer and cancer treatments can affect your sexual health, fertility, or both. Our Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program can help with sexual health problems, such as premature menopause or fertility issues. We can help before, during, or after your treatment. Call for more information or to make an appointment.

Food Pantry Program
646-888-8055
We give food to people in need during their cancer treatment. For more information, talk with your healthcare provider or call the number above.

Integrative Medicine Service
www.mskcc.org/integrativemedicine
Our 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. To schedule an appointment for these services, call 646-449-1010.

You can also schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in the Integrative Medicine Service. They will work with you to come up with a plan for creating a healthy lifestyle and managing side effects. To make an appointment, call 646-608-8550.

Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program
646-888-6024
Cancer and cancer treatments can affect your sexual health, fertility, or both. Our Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program can help with sexual health problems, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). We can help before, during, or after your treatment. Call for more information or to make an appointment.

MSK Library
library.mskcc.org
212-639-7439
You can visit our library website or call to talk with the library reference staff. They can help you find more information about a type of cancer. You can also visit LibGuides on MSK’s library website at libguides.mskcc.org

Nutrition Services
www.mskcc.org/nutrition
212-639-7312
Our Nutrition Service offers nutritional counseling with one of our clinical dietitian nutritionists. Your clinical dietitian nutritionist will talk with you about your eating habits. They can also give advice on what to eat during and after treatment. To make an appointment, ask a member of your care team for a referral or call the number above.

Patient and Caregiver Education
www.mskcc.org/pe
Visit our Patient and Caregiver Education website to search for educational resources, videos, and online programs.

Patient and Caregiver Peer Support Program
212-639-5007
It can be comforting to talk with someone who has been through a treatment like yours. You can talk with a former MSK patient or caregiver through our Patient and Caregiver Peer Support Program. Your conversations are private. They can be in person or over the phone.

Patient Billing
646-227-3378
Call if you have questions about preauthorization with your insurance company. This is also called preapproval.

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

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

Private Duty Nurses and Companions
917-862-6373
You can request private nurses or companions to care for you in the hospital and at home. Call for more information.

Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program
646-888-8106
At MSK, care does not end after your treatment. The RLAC Program is for patients and their families who have finished treatment.

This program has many services. We offer seminars, workshops, support groups, and counseling on life after treatment. We can also help with insurance and employment issues.

Social Work
www.mskcc.org/socialwork
212-639-7020
Social workers help patients, families, and friends deal with common issues for people who have cancer. They provide individual counseling and support groups throughout your treatment. They can help you communicate with children and other family members.

Our social workers can also help refer you to community agencies and programs. They also have information about financial resources, if you’re having trouble paying your bills.

Spiritual Care
212-639-5982
Our chaplains (spiritual counselors) are available to listen, help support family members, and pray. They can contact community clergy or faith groups, or simply be a comforting companion and a spiritual presence. Anyone can ask for spiritual support. You do not have to have a religious affiliation (connection to a religion).

MSK’s interfaith chapel is located near Memorial Hospital’s main lobby. It’s open 24 hours a day. If you have an emergency, call 212-639-2000. Ask for the chaplain on call.

Tobacco Treatment Program
www.mskcc.org/tobacco
212-610-0507
MSK has specialists who can help you quit smoking. For more information about our Tobacco Treatment Program, call 212-610-0507. You can also ask your nurse about the program.

Virtual Programs
www.mskcc.org/vp
Our Virtual Programs offer online education and support for patients and caregivers. These are live sessions where you can talk or just listen. You can learn about your diagnosis, what to expect during treatment, and how to prepare for your cancer care.

Sessions are private, free, and led by experts. Visit our website for more information about Virtual Programs or to register.

External support services

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 can’t 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 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 people 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.

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’s 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 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.

Look Good Feel Better Program
www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org
800-395-LOOK (800-395-5665)
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.

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 get medications that they have trouble affording.

Educational Resources

This section has the educational resources mentioned in this guide. They will help you get ready for your surgery and recover after your surgery.

As you read through these resources, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

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Last Updated

Friday, May 7, 2021