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Patient and Health Care Consumer Education Guide: Experience as an MSK Patient

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

This page is for those who are interested in becoming a patient at MSK or are curious about the services we offer.

The text "Experience as an MSK Patient" in white on a purple flower background.

Learning About MSK Services

  • Becoming a Patient
    • If you are interested in becoming an MSK patient, this guide is your one-stop checklist. Learn how to request an appointment, get help with insurance, and prepare for your first visit.
  • MyMSK
    • This page explains MyMSK, a patient portal that allows you or your caregivers to securely access information about your care at MSK, including lab results, appointments and hospital bills. Even if you are not a patient, you can create a free account to access the latest information about cancer care, sign up for events with MSK experts, or message MSK about becoming a new patient.
  • Telemedicine
    • MSK offers telemedicine visits, meaning patients may have the option of using secure video technology to connect with their care team for some of their appointments.
  • MSK Kids: Our Child Life Services
    • MSK Kids is committed to doing all they can to help your child continue being a kid. Most care is delivered on an outpatient basis, so your child can spend less time in a hospital room and more time at home with friends and family.
  • Services for International Patients
    • MSK’s Bobst International Center has a team ready to guide you. Guest services will help answer questions, match you with the best doctors and services for your needs, and coordinate services.

The MSK Approach to Cancer Care and Information

  • Patient & Community Education
    • Dedicated to empowering cancer patients, their caregivers, and the public through the development of accurate, clear, and reliable educational resources, this is joint work between MSK's team of health education specialists and health care providers.
      • The search bar at the center of the page allows you to search their virtual library of written resources, videos, and online programs.
      • You can also use their Google Custom Search bar at the right of the page to find health-related information from other websites they trust.
  • Cancer Types
    • Part of MSK's larger site on cancer care for adult patients, each cancer type links to a page with background information on the specific disease, its diagnosis, and treatment. Look here for detailed information about cancer care at MSK, doctors who specialize in your type of cancer, and links to related news and resources.
  • MSK Kids: Learn about Pediatric Cancers and Blood Disorders
    • Learn more about pediatric cancers and how MSK Kids tailors treatment plans for child and teen patients.
  • Cancer Straight Talk Podcast from MSK
    • Hosted by Dr. Diane Reidy-Lagunes, this podcast brings together patients and experts to discuss various topics in the field of cancer. Episodes can be found at the website above or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Programs Alongside and 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 encourage relaxation and provide distractions. One example is Visible Ink, a writing program that pairs patients (whether currently in treatment, post treatment, or as long-term survivors) with experienced writers as mentors.
  • 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 this addiction and become skilled in using diverse strategies to resist urges to smoke.
  • Living Beyond Cancer
    • This MSK program provides services for cancer survivors and their loved ones, including support groups, seminars, and workshops.

Mental Health, Support Groups, and Spiritual Care

  • 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.
  • Cancer Caregiver Support & Help
    • MSK's 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. This site lists educational resources and various support services, both within and outside of MSK.
  • Patient and Caregiver Peer Support Program
    • This patient-to-patient peer support program connects patients and caregivers with people who have been through a similar cancer diagnosis, treatment, and/or caregiving experience, and who understand your challenges and worries.
  • All Support Groups and Programs
    • Different kinds of support provided by social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and patient and caregiver volunteers.
  • Virtual Programs
    • Offers online education, support, and resources for patients and caregivers. Through live sessions, you can learn about your diagnosis, what to expect during treatment, and how to prepare for the various stages of your cancer care.
  • Social Work Calendar
    • Allows you to search for support groups and events by keywords or by narrowing down by category or date.
    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.
  • 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 be expressed in religious terms.

Patient Navigators

MSK has individuals who are dedicated to guiding patients around any barriers to timely and appropriate care while with us:

  • The MSK Ralph Lauren Center includes a renowned patient navigation program as part of its supportive services, and patient navigators there can help patients with questions involving treatment, financial counseling, and travel arrangements.
  • Patient navigation at MSK also takes the forms of navigators within Nursing, primarily through oncology patient navigators, and clinical navigators within Patient Financial Services. For more information on that second part, please see the box Insurance or Financial Assistance on this page.

For an overview of navigating cancer care, please look to this 2022 MSK presentation: A Guide to Navigating Cancer Care Before and After a Diagnosis, which discusses cancer health disparities, how to select a provider and facility, advocating for yourself and others, and understanding costs.

Traveling to New York City

Information On Visiting MSK In NYC is the page for information about the experience of visiting our Manhattan locations as an MSK patient. This includes details like directions, parking, and lodging. For example, Hotels & Other Accommodations shares that MSK has negotiated special rates and amenities for patients, families, and caregivers at some hotels.

Insurance or Financial Assistance

  • Insurance Information
    • MSK's insurance specialists are here to help you make sense of your insurance and payment questions, whether you are considering coming to us as a new patient or are already in our care.
  • Cancer Patient Financial Assistance Programs
    • If you are having a hard time paying for your care at MSK, you can apply for MSK’s Financial Assistance Program or prescription assistance programs.
  • Download List of Standard Charges
    • MSK, like all hospitals, is required by law to provide information about standard charges for items and services. This page includes information about estimated costs, and a form to request a list of MSK standard charges.

Mobile Resources

  • MyMSK App
    • You can access the MyMSK patient portal from any mobile device.
  • CaringBridge App
    • While not specific to MSK, patients here have found it incredibly meaningful and helpful to share information about their cancer journey with friends and family.

Cancer Care Outside of MSK

As of 2023 there are 72 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers. These are places noted for their scientific leadership, resources, and research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.

MSK is one of 54 Comprehensive Cancer Centers, meaning we have shown an additional level of research across many areas that relate to cancer.

Look to this map to find different centers and explore their focuses.

Your MSK Library Team

Want to learn more about library support?

Visit the MSK Library home page:

Reach out to MSK Library staff:

  • The line to reach our Reference team to ask a question is (212) 639-7439.
  • Visit our Ask Us page to also reach out via email or chat.


Have questions or comments? Want to add a resource?

Please use the Feedback button at the top of the page to reach out.

The content of this guide is a work in progress, and we would love to hear from you to learn:

  • What features you would like to see.
  • What information is most important to your care or the care of a loved one.