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Books, Journals, New Media
May 7, 2003

Palliative Care

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(17):2288-2289. doi:10.1001/jama.289.17.2288-a

The first edition of Principles and Practice of Supportive Oncology was published in 1998, the same year as the second edition of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, arguably the only other comparable text. A more up-to-date resource has been anxiously awaited, and this book, after careful and critical scrutiny, is highly recommended.

Now titled Principles and Practice of Palliative Care and Supportive Oncology, it is a medical textbook addressing the assessment, pathophysiology, and treatment of pain and other symptoms, such as dyspnea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, delirium, anorexia, and many other problems that are prevalent and can be difficult to manage in patients with cancer. The authors speak to the management of syndromes (eg, cauda equina compression, bowel obstruction), prognostication, treatments (eg, palliative surgery, palliative radiation therapy), withholding and withdrawing treatment, physician-assisted death, spirituality, and other topics that until recently had been rarely addressed in medical textbooks. Several new chapters have been added, including those on physiatric approaches and complementary and alternative therapies. The book is directed toward physicians and other medical providers, such as advanced practice nurses, who care for patients with cancer and other serious illness and would like to have access to a reliable, understandable, and practical assessment and treatment guide. The authors are largely prominent experts in the fields in which they write and represent a virtual Who's Who of palliative medicine specialists in the United States. The textbook is useful not only as a reference book but as a review book for those studying for the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine certifying examination and even as an easy-to-digest review to update and sharpen the experienced provider's knowledge base.