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The book has a total of 497 pages divided into 5 major sections and 35 chapters.


The initial section provides an excellent introduction to the history and principals of palliative care.  This is followed by comprehensive sections on pain and other physical symptoms, a section on psychosocial aspects of care and a short section on complementary and alternative therapies.


This new edition has emphasized a more in depth review of existing evidence and an excellent use of tables and figures.


The book is a real pleasure to read.  The great advantage of single-author books is the consistency in style.  This book excels as an introduction to palliative and will be of great usefulness to starting palliative care fellows and oncology residents.  It is also an excellent reference book for internists, medical students, and other health care professionals.  It has already been eleven years since the first edition of this book was published.  For all these years PALLIATIVE MEDICINE has been, and continues to be, the book I recommend to all those health care professionals who are starting their serious reading in palliative care.  All of us working in this area are very fortunate to have access to this excellent book.


Eduardo Bruera, MD



Roger Woodruff brings to his writing (for this book is entirely from his hand) a wealth of clinical experience, deep insight into what his readers are looking for and need, and an enviable ability to write comprehensively yet concisely, with authority yet without dogmatism, producing a book which fully merits its title. This is not a reference book primarily for the palliative medicine specialist or library shelf. We have one or two already. Nor it is yet another “recipe” book on pain and symptom management. We have dozens of them. This is a book where every fact and guideline, covering every problem likely to be encountered in palliative medicine, is based on 350 randomised clinical trials (RCTs), dozens of systematic reviews and 45 Cochrane reviews.


It goes without saying that it is up-to-date, rich with tables and figures; that it is comprehensive and insightful, full of practical wisdom; that it is beautifully printed and presented (as we expect from OUP); that it is a delight to handle and to read.  I know of no better book for senior medical students, junior doctors and specialists in specialties other than palliative medicine, for all medical and nursing libraries. Never was it more truly said “ This book is essential reading for all who care for the terminally ill, wherever they are.” This reviewer feels honoured to have been asked to look at it.


Derek Doyle



From the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine Newsletter

April 2004


Every doctor in Australia and New Zealand with an interest in Palliative Medicine should immediately be rushing out to their nearest medical book supplier. The latest edition of Roger Woodruff’s Palliative Medicine is a must on the shelf of every doctor. This excellent text has become indispensable.


The 4th edition has been published this year. I have been a convinced user of the 2nd edition and was ashamed to realise that it was published in 1996 and the 3rd edition in 1999. This latest edition has been extensively re-written and there has been a major restructure to the format. As with the changing and developing discipline of Palliative Care, so has the knowledge base associated with Palliative Care increased. This text has been extensively referenced. There has been a commitment to the principles of evidence based medicine. As Roger Woodruff so eloquently says in his preface to the 4th edition, ‘The results of more than 350 randomised controlled trials, dozens of systematic reviews and 45 Cochrane reviews are highlighted. None is perfect and the results must always be interpreted according to each individual patients particular circumstances.”


This new edition has the trade mark clear and logical lists that are so much part of Roger Woodruff’s text, however, it has an improved layout and accessibility that makes it suitable for practitioners and clinicians of all disciplines and levels of expertise.


I would recommend that you make it to your nearest medical bookseller and purchase your copy for the modest price of $A 79.95 before they are sold out.


Greg Crawford

Adelaide, April 2004

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