A Coordinated, Multidisciplinary Approach to Cancer Care
At Maimonides Cancer Center, our interdisciplinary teams of cancer experts - surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, reconstructive surgeons, specially trained nurses and physician assistants, a social worker, a genetic counselor, a nutritionist, and other clinical personnel - work collaboratively to provide optimal care.
Right here in Brooklyn, our local cancer treatment teams specialize in different types of cancer (i.e., Breast Cancer team). They meet weekly to discuss and review each patient's case, and develop a coordinated and unified treatment plan.
This approach ensures you and your family benefit from a full range of resources, professional staff and services during your care, from the time of your diagnosis to the end of your treatment. We also provide education, psychosocial support, nutritional services, pain, and symptom management.
Members of Maimonides Interdisciplinary Cancer Teams
ONCOLOGISTS, HEMATOLOGISTS, RADIATION ONCOLOGISTS
Medical Oncologists, Hematologists, and Radiation Oncologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They have advanced training, experience and education that provide them with the skills necessary to examine, diagnose and manage or treat cancerous tumors and hematologic conditions. Oncologists and Hematologists oversee the administration of chemotherapy. Radiation Oncologists oversee the delivery of radiation therapy.
Maimonides oncology surgeons treat many forms of cancer, in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapies or surgery on its own. We offer a full range of the latest surgical techniques and procedures to treat patients with cancer. Our cancer surgeons are experts in minimally invasive surgical techniques that minimize the trauma of more traditional surgery and improve surgical outcomes.
NURSE PRACTITIONERS AND PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS (NPs & PAs)
Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants work in collaboration with physicians to provide comprehensive care. They perform symptom management, evaluate laboratory results, order tests and medications and provide patient teaching and psychosocial support.
You will likely meet a number of different nurses during your visit to the Cancer Center. Nurses work in the chemotherapy infusion unit and radiation department. They perform problem focused assessment using the nursing process, provide patient education and administer prescribed treatment such as chemotherapy, blood transfusions, antibiotics, hydration and injections.
The patient advocate is committed to ensuring that your rights are respected and that your concerns are addressed. They are available to speak on your behalf, represent your best interests, and answer questions about hospital policies and procedure.
If you have a concern, question, or complaint about your care; or you would like someone to serve as your advocate, please contact our Patient Advocate at 718-765-2545.
PATIENT CARE TECHNICIANS
Patient Care Technicians perform your blood draws and vital signs. They also assist the physician during procedures.
PAIN AND PALLIATIVE CARE PRACTITIONERS
Pain and Palliative Care Nurse Practitioners are available for consultation. They work with you and rest of the interdisciplinary care team to help manage pain resulting from your illness or treatment.
Nutrition is an integral component of comprehensive cancer care. Eating the right foods before, during and after treatment can help the patient feel better and stay stronger. Having cancer puts stress on the body, and may require more and calories and protein. Optimal nutrition for cancer patients must be developed on an individual basis to meet each person's specific nutritional needs. Eating right before, during and after cancer treatment is easier when nutritional counseling and sound nutritional information is readily available.
Maimonides Cancer Center has teamed up with Maimonides Nutrition Center to establish a nutrition program to provide patients with guidance during cancer treatment. The nutrition program works toward this by providing early nutrition intervention, identifying problems that affect the success of anticancer therapy. Finding and treating nutrition problems early may help the cancer patient gain or maintain weight, maintain energy and strength, lessen side effects, and improve the response to cancer therapy, and reduce complications of treatment.
Our Registered Dietitian works closely with our oncology team, who refer patients at nutrition risk. Nutrition counseling can provide oncology patients with information to:
- Prevent or treat malnutrition which can cause the patient to be weak and unable to resist infections or withstand cancer therapies
- Manage and reduce nutritional side-effects of treatments which can interfere with eating
- Maintain strength and energy
- Clarify confusing and contradictory health claims
- Aid in weight control for cancer survivors
If you are interested in learning more about the nutrition program, speak with your nurse, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or doctor OR contact Nina Dahan, M.S., R.D. Nutrition Center Coordination, at 718-765-2526.
SOCIAL WORKERS (SWs)
Oncology Social Workers provide emotional and practical support to cancer patients and their families through individual counseling and support groups. They help patients attain the best possible quality of life from diagnosis through ongoing illness and treatment, to end of life issues when appropriate.
Our on-site social workers provide assistance with:
- Referrals to national and local information and support services
- Support counseling
- Referral to community resource and government programs, wellness workshops and social events
- Referral to financial assistant programs
- Transportation assistance
- Home care referral
- Information on Health insurance, Entitlements, and Benefits
- Referral to Residential Care Alternatives
- Food assistance
- Prescription Drug Assistance
- Mental Health counseling
- End of Life issues
Research has shown that social work interventions with cancer patients and survivors may improve length of survival, as it reduces an individual’s stress level and helps to provide a continuum of care. If you are interested in receiving information on these services, please contact our staff social worker, Nella Khenkin, M.S.W., at 718-765-2655
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SPECIALISTS
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is difficult for patients and families. People can experience grief about current and anticipated losses, as well as worry about the progression of their disease, the effects of treatment procedures, work, finances, loved ones, and longer term outcomes.
It is important for patients to learn how to best cope with their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Social support systems provide patients with a place to turn and assistance in maintaining a positive attitude. Adjusting to a diagnosis of cancer can bring about feeling of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, self-blame, and anger.
With approximately one-third of patients reporting distress during their treatment, it is essential that they have access to mental health services. Maimonides Medical Center recognizes the important of patients’ emotional well-being as much as their physical. For that reason, the Department of Psychiatry offers several types of interventions to patients and their families who receive treatment at Maimonides Cancer Center.
These services include:
- Distress Screening
- Crisis Counseling
- Psychiatric Evaluations and Medication Management
- Individual Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Educational Interventions, such as coping and relaxation strategies
- Psychological Assessment
Research has shown that mental health services not only provide improvements in mood, but also in coping, energy levels, and pain. The Department of Psychiatry aims to provide patients and their families with compassionate and supportive care during the difficult time of adjustment. Because Maimonides Cancer Center serves such a large and diverse population in the heart of Brooklyn, our staff is very sensitive to our patients’ varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
We encourage patients to reach out to our staff and let us know how we can best meet your emotional needs. If you are interested in receiving mental health services, speak with your nurse, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or doctor or contact our staff psychologist.
Genetics and family history play a significant role in determining who is at risk for developing cancer, at what age, and in what form. As many as 10% of cancer cases are thought to be due to hereditary predisposition and ancestry. Our Brooklyn-based genetics program offers information, counseling and testing. Working with our medical staff, our genetic counselor helps to create a tailored medical management plan that helps to detect cancers at early states or prevent their occurrence entirely.
Genetic counseling may be helpful for individuals with inherited cancer syndrome that predisposes them to many types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, colon, prostate, melanoma, endometrial, and other rare malignances. Hereditary cancers tend to develop at a younger age, often prior to the time at which regular screening would be initiated. They can occur in both men and women.
The following are features of a family health history that are suggestive of hereditary cancer:
- A cancer diagnosis prior to age 50 in two or more relatives
- Multiple primary cancers in a single individual, which may include bilateral breast cancer, colon and uterine cancer or other malignancies
- Persons with cancer in successive generations of the same family line
- Unusual forms of cancer, including male breast cancer or medullary thyroid cancer
If you are interested in discussing your personal or family history of cancer please contact the Genetics Program at 718-765-2547.
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants schedule tests/procedures, book appointments and provide other support necessary during your treatment process.