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Be critical about how you're spending your time, because time is precious." The first thing you need to know about pain is that it can be treated.

"There shouldn't be the expectation that you have to live with it," says Morrison.

Be prepared to tell your physician anything you've already tried for the symptom, in as much detail as you can." That's your starting point. One of the most important members of any palliative care team is a chaplain.

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"A study done at Massachusetts General Hospital with lung cancer patients showed that those who were randomized to early palliative care plus the usual oncology care lived 2.7 months longer than those who got usual oncology care alone," Smith tells Web MD.

It certainly does not mean there is nothing more to be done.

When you receive the information that your illness is serious, a palliative care team can help you handle the news and cope with the many questions and challenges you'll face.

"I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do." No patient wants to hear that. But no hope of a sure cure does not mean no hope at all.

It is true that in the course of many illnesses, cure ceases to be an option.

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