Living Well with Serious Illness

Dispelling Myths about Palliative Care

Steve Pantilat, MD
University of California, San Francisco

The goals of palliative care according to Steven Pantilat, MD, University of California, San Francisco, are pretty straightforward—to do as well as possible for as long as possible when you have a serious illness.
Yet this type of medical care is sometimes viewed through the wrong lens and confused with hospice or end of life care.

As the keynote speaker at the 2018 NorCal CarciNET Community conference, which was sponsored by NETRF, Pantilat gave an honest, uplifting, and inspiring talk that painted an informed view of palliative care for patients, family members, and caregivers.

Pantilat outlined the benefits of palliative care:

  • Better quality of life
  • Better mood
  • Decreased rate of depression
  • Less pain
  • Better health for family/caregivers
  • Greater satisfaction with care

Then, Pantilat emphasized that there “were no adverse effects from palliative care.”

Panlitat peeled apart the misconception that seeking palliative care required patients to choose quality of life over quantity of life. “There has never been a study that shows palliative care makes you live less long. The choice between quantity and quality is a false choice,” said Panlitat.
Pantilat emphasized the importance of talking about your hopes for the future and working with your family and care team to realize those dreams.

ASCO guidelines recommend that those who have been diagnosed with metastatic cancer should see palliative care team within 6 months of diagnosis.

Pantilat is the recipient of the 2011 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award and author of “Life After the Diagnosis: Expert Advice on Living with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers.

Learn about other patient and caregiver conferences.