If you’re facing a cancer diagnosis, you may be going through a lot right now — coping with anxiety, stress, and fear of the unknown, and trying to figure out your next steps. Where should you go for care? How are you going to balance your treatment with the rest of your busy life? We understand how overwhelming these decisions can be.
The first thing we want you to know is that the outlook has never been better for people diagnosed with cancer. Though we’ve always understood a lot about the disease, we’ve never known it better than we do right now. Today more than half of all people diagnosed with cancer can be cured, and many others will live long lives even with their disease.
At Memorial Sloan Kettering, cancer is what we know best. We’ve been caring for people with this disease for a very long time — more than 130 years. Our patients have always been at the center of all we do. We’re constantly thinking about your needs as well as the concerns of your loved ones — and how we can get you the support you need at each turn.
Here are a few of the reasons why we hope you’ll choose us for your care.
As an MSK patient, you have a team of devoted and compassionate doctors and other specialists guiding you through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery — and who are all experts in your exact disease. If you have lung cancer, for example, your care team will consist of doctors and nurses whose sole focus is cancers that begin in the chest or the lungs.
And at our weekly meetings of our specialized disease management teams, experts across different disciplines come together to discuss options for challenging cases, which means that any diagnosis or treatment plan created for you reflects the collective expertise of world-class doctors in specialties ranging from surgery, medicines like chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to imaging and pathology.
Nursing excellence is also at the heart of the care we offer. Specially trained oncology nurses work closely with your doctors and are an essential part of your team. Their support, knowledge, and deep sense of caring not only brings tremendous comfort to our patients and their loved ones, it makes a real difference in achieving the best possible treatment outcome.
We Care for the Whole Person
And because we’re a comprehensive cancer center, one of only two in New York City, that’s why your care team also includes dietitians, dermatologists, specialists in sexual health and fertility, psychiatrists and psychologists, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, integrative medicine specialists, and art therapists. Each of these experts understands in the particular concerns of people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Learn more about programs to care for the whole person.
So we know your opinions and can work to address any issues, we conduct regular surveys used to measure our patients’ satisfaction with our care. We’re proud of the consistently high marks you give us, and constantly strive to do even better. See the results of our patient satisfaction surveys.
We also provide support services for people without cancer: your loved ones. Learn more about the resources we offer caregivers and families.
Doing More with Less
Our experts are constantly looking for new ways to make cancer care less challenging for you and your loved ones. The techniques we’ve pioneered allow us to offer you the best available treatment for your exact condition. In some cases, it involves foregoing immediate treatment in favor of a closely monitored “watch-and-wait approach.” For patients who do receive treatment, we have refined and personalized treatments to optimize your quality of life.
Here are just a few of the approaches we take to minimize treatment burden:
- Doctors now know that patients with certain types of cancer may not need immediate treatment. We have implemented programs in active surveillance (also known as “watchful waiting”) for multiple cancers, including prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, and lymphoma. We do regular tests to keep an eye on a tumor’s behavior over time, and only if symptoms develop or tests indicate the cancer is growing do we initiate treatment.
- Our breast cancer doctors have led the way in developing and validating less-intensive treatments for breast cancer. For example, we have helped show that most patients with newly diagnosed, early-stage breast cancer are candidates for breast-conserving surgery, or lumpectomy, followed by radiation. We also have shown that in many cases we can safely avoid using axillary dissection (the removal of most of the underarm lymph nodes), which causes lymphedema, a sometimes-severe swelling of the arm.
- Our surgeons pioneered an approach for determining where gynecologic cancers are likely to spread first, allowing them to remove a much smaller number of lymph nodes — which helps patients avoid lymphedema in the pelvis — and reduce complications of surgery.
- Many surgeries that typically required hospitalization in the past can now be performed on an outpatient basis. Our Josie Robertson Surgery Center is designed to get patients home safely as soon as possible so they can complete their recovery.
We know that undergoing cancer treatment can be stressful. That’s why we’re determined to make sure your treatments are as easy and accessible as possible. Memorial Sloan Kettering has outpatient locations across New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County so that you can receive your care closer to home. Decreasing your travel burden leaves you more time in the comfort of your home, which is important to the healing process.
At all of our regional facilities, you can receive many of the same treatments that you would in our Manhattan clinics, including chemotherapy, radiation, and even outpatient surgery. You can rest assured that no matter which location you visit, you’ll be getting the same world-class care that Memorial Sloan Kettering provides.