Palliative care is the active holistic care of people across all ages living with a life-limiting illness to live as well as possible, for as long as possible — supporting their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs. It also aims to improve the lives of the patient’s families and their caregivers. Palliative care initially and historically focused on alleviating the relief of suffering at the end of life. However, it is now considered best practice and is increasingly implemented earlier in the trajectory of life-threatening health conditions.. Existing research suggests that palliative care is both effective in reducing symptom burden and improving quality of life, cost-effective and is synonymous with quality of care. We are talking to director of the Symptom Management Service at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate director of the UCSF Palliative Care Leadership Center Dr. Mike Rabow about the evolution of cancer palliative care, misconceptions, symptoms management and the multidisciplinary approach that it entails today.