Background: Although cancer and HIV/AIDS are common causes of death in Vietnam, limited data exist on their palliative care needs. As palliative care becomes part of Universal Health Coverage, evidence is needed to scale up appropriate care. Objectives: To elicit from people with cancer or HIV/AIDS in Vietnam, and their caregivers, the specific multidimensional symptoms and concerns that cause serious health-related suffering. Methods: Semistructured, qualitative, in-depth interviews were conducted with stage III or IV cancer patients, people with HIV/AIDS, and their caregivers at three cancer treatment centers and two HIV/AIDS treatment centers in northern, central, and southern Vietnam. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Sixty people were interviewed (21 cancer patients, 20 people with HIV/AIDS, 19 caregivers). Pain and other physical symptoms severely impacted their daily lives. Psychological distress-including sadness, depression, worry, and a feeling of having no future-was mentioned frequently, and it was exacerbated by disease progression and by social problems such as financial difficulties and, among people with HIV/AIDS, stigma. Caregivers also suffered physically and psychosocially. Spirituality emerged as a source of strength for patients. Findings: highlighted patients' and family caregivers' desire for more information about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, a shift toward individual decision-making. Conclusion: The findings demonstrate common, multidimensional, and severe suffering among people living with cancer or HIV/AIDS and their caregivers in Vietnam. These qualitative data should guide development of optimum clinical assessment tools and palliative care services for these populations.