Patient Support

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Supportive and Palliative Care Service

Supportive and palliative care can improve your quality of life, regardless of the stage of your disease, and may help you live longer, even with advanced cancer.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medicine for people who have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. It is an extra layer of support for those with a serious illness, not just for those who are dying. At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), palliative care is for anyone with a cancer diagnosis and is provided in conjunction with your regular oncology appointments.

Palliative care is all about enhancing your quality of life, including:

  • Relieving pain and other symptoms
  • Helping you cope with the stress of having cancer
  • Helping you understand your condition and your choices for care so you can make decisions that are right for you
  • Talking with your family about your illness, your treatment, and your wishes
  • Determining what is most important to you
  • Preparing for the future
  • Helping you complete an advance directive for health care, living will, and durable power of attorney for health care
  • Helping you decide if and when it is right to enroll in hospice

If you are an SCCA patient, the team from our Supportive and Palliative Care Service can help improve your ability to tolerate treatment and carry on with everyday life.

Available to Anyone with Cancer at Any Time

Palliative care is available to anyone with cancer regardless of the stage of their disease, the amount of time since their diagnosis, or the type of treatment they are receiving for their cancer.

You can receive supportive and palliative care along with treatment to fight your cancer. The Supportive and Palliative Care team works with your oncology team at SCCA to provide in-depth symptom management and support. Your oncologist continues to make decisions with you about your care.

Palliative Care Is Not the Same as Hospice Care

Hospice care is designed for people who are in the last six months of their life and who are not receiving treatment aimed at curing their disease or prolonging their life. Usually hospice care is provided in your home by your own caregiver, such as a family member, and a hospice team that visits regularly, and may include specialized nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers.

The Supportive and Palliative Care team can help you decide if and when it is right to enroll in hospice. The team can also assist with referrals to hospice care and provide ongoing coordination of care with the hospice team, when appropriate.

Proven Power of Palliative Care

The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that palliative care be integrated into standard oncology care for patients with advanced cancer or significant symptoms at the time of their cancer diagnosis. This recommendation comes from a randomized controlled study that showed improved survival in patients with newly diagnosed metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who received early palliative care along with standard oncologic treatment.1 These patients also had better quality of life and less depression. That’s why at SCCA, if you have advanced cancer or significant symptoms at diagnosis, we want to talk with you about integrating palliative care into your treatment.

Learn More or Make an Appointment

To find out more about SCCA’s Supportive and Palliative Care Service, ask your SCCA doctor, or call (206) 288-7474, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email us

To make an appointment, call (206) 288-7324, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are usually available within two weeks.

You can learn more about palliative care through these websites:

1 Jennifer S. Temel et al, “Early Palliative Care for Patients with Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine 363 (2010): 733-42.

What to Expect

At your first palliative care appointment, we’ll meet with you to explain the services offered, discuss your needs, and develop a plan.

Supportive and Palliative Care Team

The Supportive and Palliative Care team includes doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, physical therapists, and others.