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Patient Education Resource Guide

Guiding patients, family members, caregivers, and the larger MSK community to cancer information

Page Overview

The text "MSK Complementary and Supportive Care" in white on a purple flower background.

This page is for those who are interested in care that complements, supports, or is after treatment at MSK.

Integrative Medicine

Overview

MSK's Integrative Medicine Service offers complementary therapies for managing cancer symptoms and side effects while supporting recovery and health. What this looks like are options such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga offered alongside treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. These holistic therapies are personalized and woven into each patient's cancer care to care for the whole person, not just your cancer.

Visit MSK Kids: Integrative Medicine & Complementary Services for the specific services available to child and teen patients.

How Can Integrative Medicine Help Me?

The wide variety of programs and advice available within the Integrative Medicine Service can support your overall health and well-being as well as focus on specific issues. This includes:

  • Handling side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Minimizing anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Understanding your various herbal, vitamin, and other dietary supplement options
  • Preventing and treating lymphedema
  • Controlling pain, fatigue, neuropathy, hot flashes, and other uncomfortable symptoms
  • Improving strength, balance, and endurance
  • Learning how mind-body therapies like mindfulness and yoga can improve your overall well-being
Individualized Integrative Medicine Care Plans

When you schedule a physician consultation, our skilled doctors will come up with a customized treatment approach and put together a team to help you achieve your specific goals. To make your appointment to create your personal care plan, please call 646-608-8550.


Learn more about integrative therapies at MSK:

  • Integrative Medicine at Home Membership Program: a monthly membership program of online lifestyle and mind-body classes you can join from wherever you are.
  • Mind-Body Workshops: an experienced MSK Integrative Medicine specialist will join you virtually to teach you skills that can help you navigate emotions and soothe the side effects of cancer therapies.
  • Individual Therapies: fee-based therapies including acupuncture, mind-body therapy, exercise or yoga personal training, and oncology massage.
  • Our Research & Clinical Trials: scientific research to evaluate complementary (integrative) therapies for cancer, with the goal of determining which specific therapies are most useful in treating particular symptoms.
  • Meditations: this meditation and relaxation library offers a variety of mediations from different styles, lengths, and traditions. Some tracks have background music and others do not.
  • About Herbs App: an Android/iOS-compatible mobile application with objective evidence-based information covering nearly 300 different herbs, botanicals, and supplements with their purported benefits, side effects, drug interactions, and more.

Supportive Care

Supportive Care includes ways to help you address symptoms, cope with cancer, and live your best life possible. Supportive care is sometimes called “palliative care.” It is an important part of the cancer treatment journey.

The Supportive Care Service at MSK is comprised of physicians, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, social workers, and chaplains who work together to provide specialized medical care for people living with cancer and their caregivers in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. The supportive care service clinicians work in partnership with doctors in the Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesiology & Critical Care, Neurology, as well as clinicians, nurses, and social workers in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

This diverse team works to help patients manage the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment and cope with the emotions this diagnosis and experience create. They have expertise in the management of patients with multiple complex medical problems, as well as patients who are close to end of life. This care is driven by patient goals and involves ongoing conversations with patients and their families.

Programs Alongside or After Cancer Treatment

Fun Activities For Cancer Patients

While undergoing cancer treatment, you may spend a significant amount of time at MSK for appointments and procedures, and these activities for both adult and younger patients encourage relaxation and provide distractions.

Nutrition and Cancer

You can use MSK's diet plans and recipes to help with healthy eating habits during and after cancer treatment.

Tobacco Treatment Program

This program draws on a wide range of approaches to help you quit. They use safe and effective medications and the latest behavioral techniques to help you break your addiction and become skilled in using diverse strategies to resist urges to smoke.

Counseling and Support Services

MSK's Counseling & Support is here for you in the following ways:

  • Cancer Mental Health Counseling for Individual & Families
    • Psychiatrists and psychologists at MSK’s Counseling Center are experienced in structuring sessions to meet your specific needs. They work with individuals and families, and also offer group sessions for people who might benefit from interacting with others in similar circumstances.
  • Social Work Support
    • MSK social workers play an important role in providing emotional support and guidance to people with cancer, as well as friends, families, and caregivers.
  • All Support Groups and Programs
    • MSK offers a wide variety of support led by social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and patient and caregiver volunteers, among others. Explore our Virtual Programs for those that are offered online.
  • Talking with Children about Cancer
    • This program from the Department of Social Work helps families during a parent’s cancer diagnosis and treatment via support groups, counseling, access to resources, and guidance.
  • Spiritual & Religious Care
    • MSK's Chaplaincy Services offers spiritual care to address any questions of identity, meaning, purpose, value, and worth that may emerge during times of pain or illness, and which may not always be expressed in religious terms.
  • Hospice Services
    • Hospice care is specialized and supportive care for those with cancer who are no longer receiving treatment for the cancer itself. This service explores providing patients and their families with the options that will best meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Patient & Community Education has a resource which further explores this kind of care: About Hospice Care.
  • Ethics at MSK
    • The Ethics Consultation Service is available to all MSK patients and caregivers and is intended to support communication surrounding challenging ethical issues, including disagreements about treatment or religious beliefs.

Visit MSK Kids: Our Support Services & Care Teams for the specific support and care available to child and teen patients and their families.

Support for Caregivers

MSK recognizes that caregivers are an important part of the cancer care team, and that as the family member or friend of someone with cancer, you may find yourself juggling responsibilities and different emotions. The page Cancer Caregiver Support & Help lists educational resources and various support services, both within and outside of MSK.

The team behind Patient & Community Education has written many resources for caregivers. Two places to start are Caregiver Support Services and A Guide for Caregivers, and both are available in a variety of languages.