Palliative care includes any treatment given to relieve symptoms caused by diseases such as cancer. While the main goal of medicine is to cure or control disease, there is a pressing need to direct attention and resources toward issues such as pain and symptom relief — conditions directly related to a patient’s quality of life during treatment.

For most Memorial Sloan Kettering patients, the attending physician coordinates palliative care. The physician will request the assistance of the Palliative Medicine Service as needed.

Palliative care also can be given on an outpatient basis once a patient has been discharged. The Palliative Medicine Service provides outpatient clinics at several locations: