When patients are near the end of life, the goals of medical care often change from trying to cure disease to trying to make the patient comfortable. Pain and depressed mood are common problems for patients with advanced cancer. Drugs can help these symptoms, but they don't always work and can have side effects. Many patients also seek relief from nondrug treatments, such as massage. Massage might help to improve pain and mood through psychological effects of the therapist's attention, as well as through physical or biological effects. However, few high-quality studies of massage, especially in seriously ill patients, have been published.