Center of Excellence for Cancer Support Services
Cancer affects the mind and spirit as well as the body. A diagnosis of cancer and cancer treatment can cause significant distress for patients and their families. Support services at the Mount Sinai Health System can help you manage physical symptoms, emotional issues, and spiritual concerns you may have with cancer. We strive to help our patients maintain a positive outlook and well-being.
In addition to cancer-specific physicians, the Cancer Support Services team includes social workers, psychiatrists, dietitians, chaplains, and child life therapists. 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 customized plan to help you cope.
Cancer support services are available at locations throughout the Mount Sinai Health System. On-site social workers and other members of your oncology care team can help you access these services.
Oncology social workers provide counseling and emotional support for you and your family. We can also help with practical challenges related to cancer. We address concerns throughout all phases of cancer–from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.
Emotional Support and Counseling: Mount Sinai’s oncology social workers have extensive skills and expertise related to a wide range of cancers and treatments. We work with you and your family to address the emotional distress that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Practical Services: Oncology social workers can help with daily living and financial needs. These might include home care, hospice care, rehabilitation/nursing facility placement, transportation, disability benefits, health insurance, legal concerns (such as advance directives), and access to prescription drugs, nutritional supplements, and medical equipment.
Information and Resource Referral: Our oncology social workers can provide information about cancer beyond the medical aspects of the disease and its treatment. We can also provide referrals to clinical and wellness programs, educational lectures, and support groups within Mount Sinai and throughout the community.
We encourage you to participate in wellness programs involving mind-body therapies and other approaches to help with your well-being. These include yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation and relaxation, hypnosis and guided imagery, fitness and health programs, and creative arts such as art therapy, music therapy, and writing workshops. Our monthly Cancer Support and Wellness newsletter outlines activities and services. For help accessing Mount Sinai and community services, you can speak with a member of the social work team.
Good nutrition is essential during cancer treatment. Eating the right kinds and amounts of food can help your body heal, feel better, and become stronger. But eating well during treatment can be challenging due to changes in appetite and ability to eat. Our oncology dietitians provide individual nutrition assessment and education. They can answer your questions and share information from the latest nutrition research.
One-on-One Counseling: We encourage you to meet with one of Mount Sinai’s dieticians at any time during and after treatment.
Wellness Education and Support Groups
Mount Sinai offers numerous wellness programs and support groups. Many patients find that meeting with other people in similar circumstances, through support groups, provides encouragement and helpful advice. Our monthly Cancer Support and Wellness newsletter outlines activities available to you.
At Mount Sinai, we recognize that living with cancer can affect the spirit as well as the body. Our oncology chaplains are familiar with the spiritual and emotional concerns that can arise at this time. They recognize that spirituality can be a source of both strength and struggle. They are skilled in providing you and your family with support throughout your journey. Our chaplains collaborate with your medical team to ensure that your spiritual and emotional needs are integrated with your overall plan of care.
Our chaplains provide respectful support to patients of all beliefs and faiths. This includes those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or “spiritual but not religious.” They understand that each individual can have a unique way of finding a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection.
Our oncology chaplains provide:
- Assistance in making treatment decisions based on your values
- Compassionate, nonjudgmental support around spiritual struggles and questions of meaning, purpose, identity, value, and worth
- Connection with community religious and spiritual resources, including faith communities, spiritual directors, spiritually integrated psychotherapy, and pastoral counselors
- Guidance and support around questions of mortality and end of life
- Guided meditations and spirituality groups
- Prayers, blessings, and rituals grounded in your spiritual tradition
Phone Numbers for Spiritual Care Offices
Mount Sinai Beth Israel 212-420-2759
Mount Sinai Brooklyn 718-951-9323
Mount Sinai Morningside 212-523-2016
Mount Sinai South Nassau 516-632-4586
Mount Sinai West 212-523-6920
The Mount Sinai Hospital 212-241-7262
Our psychiatry program offers several services:
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy focuses on talking as therapy to help you deal with cancer-related issues, along with other emotions you may experience. These may include feeling hopeless, discouraged, or overwhelmed.
Medication management: Psychiatrists can provide evaluation and follow-up to help you manage your medications. Our psychiatrists have extensive experience treating cancer patients’ mental health issues during illness, treatment, and recovery—these may include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and focus and memory problems.
A member of your oncology care team can make a referral as needed.
Child Life Specialist
Recognizing that cancer affects the whole family, the child life specialist works with you and your family to understand your medical experience, how it affects your children, and the best ways to support them. Opportunities for support (both in person and remote) include:
- Guidance on how to have conversations with children about diagnosis and treatment
- Education for children about a new or current diagnosis and possible side effects from treatment
- Support for children to reduce stress and encourage expression of feelings
Research shows that music therapy can help patients and their caregivers cope with treatment and illness challenges such as distress, anxiety, and depression. Skillful use of music combined with verbal techniques can improve your coping skills and help you discover and develop resilience to increase your quality of life. Music therapy uses music visualization and mind/body approaches to relieve symptoms occurring from cancer and its treatment. These symptoms may include nausea and sleep disruption.
Our team of board-certified, licensed music therapists uses various music psychotherapy techniques. Some of these techniques are clinical improvisation, music meditation, music sedation, and breathing modalities of music and healing. We provide music therapy to patients receiving radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and inpatient cancer treatment. We also offer individual sessions of music psychotherapy in our clinics.
We provide music therapy services at Mount Sinai-Union Square, The Blavatnik Family Chelsea Medical Center, and Mount Sinai West.
Palliative care can give you relief from your symptoms. It can also help you clarify the goals of your care to help maximize your overall quality of life. This way, your treatment will match your wishes and values, so you can live as well and fully as possible.
Components of palliative care include:
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, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, constipation, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and mood disturbances.
Goals-of-Care Assessment and Family Meeting: These meetings are designed for careful consideration of your wishes about your care and quality of life. The meetings may include discussions with you and your family, other members of your support network, and members of your cancer support and treatment teams. We want to help you develop a plan of care that is most suitable for you.
Advance Directives: Advance directives document your preferences about your medical care for the future.
Advanced Cancer Planning: The process of planning for your needs during the late stages of cancer can be complicated. It includes assessing and discussing support for you and your family, whether or not you are receiving treatment. The palliative care team can help you manage symptoms and can connect you with resources in the community as needed.
Mount Sinai Outpatient Palliative Care Clinics in Manhattan
The Derald H. Ruttenberg Treatment Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute
The Dubin Breast Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute
1470 Madison Avenue
The Blavatnik Family Chelsea Medical Center
324 West 15th Street
The Mount Sinai Hospital
Martha Stewart Center for Living
17 East 102nd Street, Fourth Floor, Area C
Mount Sinai-Union Square
Martha Stewart Center for Living
10 Union Square East, Suite 4G, New York, NY 10003
Mount Sinai Morningside
1111 Amsterdam Avenue, 10th Floor
Oncogeneralists are primary care providers with expertise in caring for cancer patients and survivors. They manage non-cancer health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They can also offer preventive health care, psychosocial care, and guidance on what you can do to maximize your health. Oncogeneralists work with your hematology/oncology team and specialist providers to ensure comprehensive and coordinated care.
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy can adversely affect the heart. Mount Sinai’s Cardio-Oncology Program features cardiologists who specialize in the cardiac effects of cancer treatments. They work with the oncology team to customize optimal cancer therapies that take into account your cardiac risk factors. They focus on early prevention, detection, treatment, and management of the potential cardiac effects of cancer treatments so you can safely continue with your cancer care. In addition, they offer specialized care to cancer survivors who, due to their cardiac risk factors and effect of past cancer treatments, may be at risk for developing cardiovascular disease.