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.
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 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.
Your parotid glands are the largest of your salivary glands. They’re located in front of your ears (see Figure 1).
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).
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.
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
You will still be able to make saliva after your surgery.
The type of surgery you have for your salivary gland tumors depends on where the tumors are. The different types of surgeries are described below. Your surgeon will tell you which surgery you’re having.
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. This is because your facial nerve needs to 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. Once they do, they will make an incision (surgical cut) in the front of your ear, down into your neck. They will carefully separate your facial nerve and its branches from your parotid gland tumor. Your surgeon will carefully 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 will remove the tumor through this incision and send it to the Pathology Department to see if it contains cancer cells. Then, they will 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 you might have 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 will be given 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.
Before Your Surgery
The information in this section will help you get ready for your surgery. Read through this section when your surgery is scheduled and refer to it as your surgery date gets closer. It has important information about what you need to do before your surgery.
Write down your questions and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
Getting Ready for Your Surgery
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 healthcare provider knows all the medications you’re taking.
- I take prescription medications (medications prescribed by a healthcare provider), 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 (shortness of breath while sleeping).
- 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.
- If you stop drinking alcohol suddenly, it can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know you’re at risk for these complications, we can prescribe medications to help keep them from happening.
- 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 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. If you develop a headache, nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up), 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 your healthcare provider questions about drinking and surgery. As always, all of your medical information will be kept confidential.
If you smoke, you can have breathing problems when you 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 by calling 212-610-0507.
About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, your airway becomes completely blocked during sleep. OSA 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 machine) for sleep apnea, bring it with you the day of your surgery.Back to top
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 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 that 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 with you when you’re given your discharge instructions so they’re able to help you care for yourself at home. Your caregiver will also need to take you home after you’re discharged from the hospital.
Complete a Health Care Proxy Form
If you haven’t already completed a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you complete one now. If you have completed one already, or if you have any other advance directives, bring them to your next appointment.
A health care proxy is a legal document that identifies the person who will speak for you if you can’t communicate for yourself. The person you identify is called your health care agent.
Talk with your nurse if you’re interested in completing a health care proxy. You can also read the resources Advance Care Planning and How to Be a Health Care Agent for information about health care proxies, other advance directives, and being a health care agent.
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 center. Exercising will help your body get into its best condition for your surgery and make your recovery faster and easier.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Follow 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 clinical dietitian nutritionist.
10 Days Before Your Surgery
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 the resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
7 Days Before Your Surgery
Stop Taking Certain Medications
If you take aspirin, ask your doctor if you should keep taking it. Aspirin and medications that contain aspirin can cause bleeding. For more information, read the 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 the 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.
2 Days Before 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 the resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
1 Day Before Your Surgery
A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, they will call you on the Friday before. If you don’t get a call by 7:00 pm, please call 212-639-5014.
The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. They will 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
M Elevator to 2nd floor
- Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 6th floor
1275 York Avenue (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
New York, NY 10065
B elevator to 6th floor
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.
The Morning of Your Surgery
Take Your Medications
If your doctor or NP told 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
- 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.
- Before you’re taken into the operating room, you will need to remove your hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles.
What to Bring
- Your breathing machine for sleep apnea (such as your CPAP machine), 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 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 this guide to teach you how to care for yourself after your surgery.
Where to Park
MSK’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’s a 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 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.
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 them 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 have.
- Answer your questions about your anesthesia.
Get Ready for Your Surgery
Once your nurse has seen you, 1 or 2 visitors can keep you company as you wait for your surgery to start. When it’s time for your surgery, your visitor(s) will be taken to the waiting area. Your visitors should read the 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.
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. You may also have a urinary (Foley®) catheter placed to drain urine 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.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 your questions and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
In the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
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 may be getting oxygen through a thin tube that rests below your nose or a mask that covers your nose and mouth. You will also have compression boots on your lower 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 will be removed before you’re discharged from the hospital.
- A face mask and humidifier to keep your airway moist.
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.
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 will 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 and the exact surgery you had. Most people stay in the hospital for 1 to 4 days after having salivary gland surgery.
When you’re taken to your hospital room, you will 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 nurses 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 will probably have numbness, but it will go away with time.
At first, you will get pain medication through your IV line. Once you’re able to eat, you will 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 doctor or nurse.
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.
Moving Around and Walking
Moving around and walking will help lower your risk for blood clots and pneumonia. It will also help stimulate your bowels so you start passing gas and having bowel movements (pooping) again. Your nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist will help you move around, if needed.
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 to do these exercises.
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 will 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 and caregiver. 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 will 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.
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.
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 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 ease 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 ease 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 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 your pain first begins 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 will loosen and fall or peel off by themselves. If they haven’t fallen off within 10 days, you can take them off.
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 doctor or nurse before starting more strenuous exercises.
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 doctor or nurse about your job and when it may be safe for you to start working again. If your job involves lots of movement or heavy lifting, you may need to stay out a little longer than if you sit at a desk.
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 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 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 you and your family. 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.
MyMSK (my.mskcc.org) is your MSK patient portal account. You can use MyMSK to send and receive messages from your healthcare team, view your test results, see your appointment dates and times, and more.
If you don’t already have a MyMSK account, you can sign up by going to my.mskcc.org. For more information about signing up for a MyMSK account, watch our video How to Enroll in the Patient Portal: MyMSK. You can also contact the MyMSK Help Desk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800-248-0593.Back to top
Call your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:
- A fever of 101 °F (38.3 °C) or higher
- Increased discomfort, redness, or swelling near your incision
- Skin around your incision that’s hot and or hard to the touch
- Thick or pus-like discharge from your incision.
Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, contact your doctor’s office.
After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, call 212-639-2000 and ask to speak to the doctor on call for your doctor.Back to top
This section contains a list of support services that may help you get ready for your surgery and recover safely.
Write down your questions and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
Call if you have questions about your hospital admission, including requesting a private room.
Call if you have 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. To make an appointment, ask your healthcare provider for a referral or call the number above.
Food Pantry Program
The food pantry program provides 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
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.
You can visit our library website or speak with the library reference staff to find more information about your specific cancer type. You can also visit LibGuides on MSK’s library website at libguides.mskcc.org.
Patient and Caregiver Education
Visit the Patient and Caregiver Education website to search our virtual library. There, you can find written educational resources, videos, and online programs.
Patient and Caregiver Peer Support Program
You may find it comforting to speak with someone who has been through a treatment similar to yours. You can talk with a former MSK patient or caregiver through our Patient and Caregiver Peer Support Program. These conversations are confidential. They may take place in person or over the phone.
Call if you have 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.
Sexual Health Programs
Cancer and cancer treatments can have an impact on your sexual health. MSK’s Sexual Health Programs can help you take action and address sexual health issues before, during, or after your treatment.
- Our Female Sexual Medicine and Women’s Health Program helps women who are dealing with cancer-related sexual health challenges, including premature menopause and fertility issues. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 646-888-5076.
- Our Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program helps men who are dealing with cancer-related sexual health challenges, including erectile dysfunction. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 646-888-6024.
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.
MSK’s Virtual Programs offer online education and support for patients and caregivers, even when you can’t come to MSK in person. Through live, interactive sessions, you can learn about your diagnosis, what to expect during treatment, and how to prepare for the various stages of your cancer care. Sessions are confidential, free, and led by expert clinical staff. If you’re interested in joining a Virtual Program, visit our website at www.mskcc.org/vp for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Patient Advocate Foundation
Provides access to care, financial assistance, insurance assistance, job retention assistance, and access to the national underinsured resource directory.
This section contains the educational resources that were referred to throughout this guide. These resources will help you get ready for your surgery and recover safely after surgery.
Write down your questions and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
- Advance Care Planning
- Call! Don't Fall!
- Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment
- How to Enroll in the Patient Portal: MyMSK
- How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer
- Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery
- What You Can Do to Avoid Falling