Cancer Support Services
Cancer affects the mind and spirit as well as the body, and its diagnosis and treatment often cause significant distress for patients and their families. Cancer support services at Mount Sinai Health System help you manage the distress that may arise from physical symptoms, emotional issues, and spiritual concerns that you experience with cancer. Our goal is to provide the types of services that contribute to your positive outlook and your wellbeing.
The Mount Sinai team of clinicians specializing in support care for cancer patients includes social workers, psychiatrists, dietitians, chaplains, and experts in palliative care, pain medicine, and integrative medicine. We focus on you as a whole person with individual needs that may change over time. We work with you and your loved ones to evaluate your concerns and develop a specialized plan that may include counseling, practical help, education, managing your symptoms, and wellness programs.
Select cancer support services are available to patients at locations throughout the Mount Sinai Health System. Contact your preferred location to find out which support services they offer.
Social work provides emotional support and assistance with practical concerns related to cancer, associated with its diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Social work may take the form of counseling and guidance for patients, their families, and caregivers.
Emotional Support/Counseling: Social workers support individuals, couples, and families by addressing emotional distress that often occurs as a normal part of dealing with cancer at all stages. Social workers help you cope with issues that may arise. Mount Sinai social workers have a range of expertise and skills with specific cancer-type and treatment focus, including:
Practical Services: Social workers offer assistance with social and financial concerns that you may encounter with cancer. Those concerns may include a place to live; home care; rehabilitation, assisted living, and nursing facilities, and hospice; transportation; disability and medical insurance; support at work or school; access to medical care and supplies such as prescription drugs, nutritional supplements, or medical devices and equipment; and legal assistance referral including completing advance directives.
Information and Resource Referral: Oncology social workers can be educational resources for you with information about cancer beyond the medical aspects of treatment. They can provide you referrals to diverse clinical and wellness programs, educational lectures, support and informational groups both within Mount Sinai and throughout the community.
Psychiatrists help you assess and manage the psychological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral issues you may face in connection with cancer.
Medication Management: Experts with experience in treating cancer patients’ psychiatric issues, such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, concentration and memory problems, provide evaluation and follow-up to help you manage your medications.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy focuses on your talking as therapy to help you deal with your cancer-related issues, along with other emotional concerns that you experience, such as feeling hopeless, discouraged, or overwhelmed.
Palliative care specializes in giving you relief from your symptoms and clarifying the goals of your care to help maximize your overall quality of life. This way, your treatment will match your wishes and values, so that you can live as well and as fully as possible.
Pain Management: Evaluating and managing your pain may include medication, mind-body therapies, psychotherapy, physical therapy, and interventional procedures.
Symptom Management: You will receive assistance in managing any distressing symptoms you experience, including fatigue, nausea, constipation, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite.
Goals of Care Assessment and Family Meeting: The purpose of the care assessment and a family meeting is to ensure that your wishes about your care and quality of life are carefully considered. The process may include discussions with you and members of your family, and other members of your support network, along with members of your cancer support services team and oncology treatment providers. Together with you, your team reviews concerns related to your cancer treatment. The result is to develop a plan of care that is most suitable for you.
Advance Directives: Advance directives are directions and documents that are used to express your preferences about your medical care for the future.
Advanced Cancer Planning: Planning to take care of your needs during the late stages of cancer includes assessing and discussing additional support for you and your family. In your home or at another facility, the planning process focuses on end-of-life care by guiding in preparation, addressing concerns, and reviewing options to optimize your comfort, including hospice.
Oncology nutrition specialists are registered dietitians dedicated to helping you eat well throughout the course of your illness and beyond. Good nutrition is essential, but eating well can be challenging while you are dealing with changes in your appetite and ability to eat. Eating the right kinds and amounts of food can help your body heal, feel better, and become stronger. Our dietitians provide individual nutrition assessment and education. They can answer your questions about food and share information from the latest nutrition research.
One-on-One Counseling: We encourage you to meet one of Mount Sinai’s dieticians at any time to help you address any of a wide spectrum of specific cancer-related eating issues.
Wellness Education: Mount Sinai offers healthy cooking programs and opportunities to participate in weight-related groups.
The mission of the Marisa Acocella Foundation is to empower women with breast cancer and breast cancer survivors to receive the best possible care for the best possible outcome without being concerned about the financial ramifications. We fund holistic treatments to cold caps to new methods of empowerment. Our programs are located at Mount Sinai Downtown Chelsea Center.
Cook For Your Life
This interactive workshop designed for cancer patients will be held quarterly. It offers cooking demonstrations, recipes for healthy eating and advice for healthy eating and nutrition. For more information, please call 212-604-6096 or visit www.cookforyourlife.org.
Moving For Life - Dance Exercise for Cancer Recovery
This exercise class will be held weekly, Thursdays from 4-5pm. The weekly classes are designed to help increase your range of motion, improve circulation, awaken and enliven the body, increase aerobic capacity, and increase flexibility. In addition, monthly lectures will take place with topics ranging from: How to Control Fatigue, Lymphedema, Neuropathy, Managing Chronic Pain, etc. For more information on this program, please call 212-604-6098 or visit www.movingforlife.org.
The Creative Center – Artist-in-Residence Program
An Artist-in-Residence works every Thursday with our patients and their families. The artist brings a variety of projects and processes each week to the waiting area and the infusion suite to help everyone discover their own creative resources and have fun! For more information on this program, please call 212-604-6097 or visit www.thecreativecenter.org.
A weekly yoga class will be held on Fridays from 2-3:30pm. This yoga class will include the gentlest of exercise combined with quiet music and creative visualization designed to help you relax and revitalize as you move along your healing path. For more information on this program, please call 212-844-8575.
Massage Therapy Program
We provide massage therapy in the infusion suite from a NY State licensed massage therapist. Therapeutic massage has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue, muscle tension, and nausea. Please speak to your nurse if you are interested, as some restrictions may apply and the times and days of the week vary.
Guided Imagery During Chemotherapy/ Meditation Group
A weekly meditation group is being held on Tuesdays from 4-5pm. Individual guided imagery and meditation sessions are available Thursday mornings in the infusion suite. For more information, please call 212-604-6097.
We offer writing workshops. Journaling and writing are therapeutic techniques that can be helpful to reduce stress and anxiety. If you do not want to participate in the workshops, but are interested in receiving a journal to write in, please speak to your social worker.
Please speak with your social worker about books that we have available in our library that you might be interested in reading.
Qi Gong/T’ai Chi Chih®
A weekly T’ai Chi Chih class will be held on Fridays from 11am-12pm. T’ai Chi Chih is a set of movements focused on the development of an intrinsic energy called Chi. T’ai Chi Chih does not require a particular level of physical fitness or coordination. For more information on this program, please call 212-844-8575.
Aquatic Program with Ai Chi and Aerobics
A weekly gentle exercises class followed by an aquatic program with Ai Chi is offered at the 14th Street Y Tuesdays from 8:30am-10am. The program incorporates 30 minutes of aerobics in a studio and is followed by Ai Chi Aquatic program in the pool from 9am-10am. Please speak to your doctor or nurse practitioner if you are interested, as some restrictions may apply and written permission is required. For more information on this program please call 212-844-6022. Please note that towels, bathing caps (a must) and locks are not included.
As part of a holistic approach to your care, we encourage you to participate in a range of wellness programs involving mind-body therapies and novel approaches to enhancing wellbeing. These approaches include yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation and relaxation, hypnosis and guided imagery, fitness and health programs, and creative arts including art therapy, music therapy, and writing workshops.
Mount Sinai suggests that you take advantage of the following resources that we offer, such as:
- Peer Support includes cancer survivors on staff
- Patient Navigation guides patients in finding their way through our facilities and through the complex process of cancer treatment.
- Resource Center helps you find information about community resources and our cancer support programs, directing you to patient literature and web-based information.
- Chaplaincy helps you find comfort and meaning by addressing spiritual concerns, whatever your faith or religious denomination.