Professor Sam H Ahmedzai BSc, MBChB, MRCP, FRCPS, FRCPSam Ahmedzai

Professor of Palliative Medicine; Head of Academic Unit of Supportive Care, Department of Oncology
Tel: +44 (0)114 271 3082 | Fax: +44 (0)114 271 3314 | Email:


Symptomics – the science of symptoms and their pharmacological palliation

Sam studied medicine in the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester. He obtained his clinical training in oncology and respiratory medicine in Glasgow and in 1985 he became Medical Director of the Leicestershire Hospice, where he established the first UK palliative care research programme. Since 1994 he has been Professor of Palliative Medicine at the University of Sheffield, where he combines an academic career whilst heading one of the UK’s busiest hospital supportive care teams in the Weston Park and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals. He led the Adult Cancer Survivorship programme in Sheffield and has pioneered consumer involvement in cancer research. Sam led the EORTC Quality Of Life Group, which produced the EORTC QLQ-C30, the world’s leading tool for measuring quality of life in cancer. He initiated the Association for Palliative Medicine’s Science Committee and is editor-in-chief of Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care and of the Oxford University Press textbook series in Supportive Care. He was 2010 Spinoza Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam Medical Centre.

The Academic Unit is funded by the European Union (Framework 7, Executive Agency for Health and Consumers), The British Lung Foundation, Myeloma UK, The Department of Health and Pfizer and includes Senior Lecturer Dr Bill Noble, (patient experience and palliative care service evaluation), Dr Michelle Winslow (oral historian and qualitative researcher), Dr Jason Boland (immunobiology of opioids), Dr Elaine Cachia (neuro-imaging of central processing in painful peripheral neuropathy) and a team of PhD/MD students. Sam’s major research interests are:
• Developing ‘symptomics’ – the science of how symptoms (and drug adverse effects) arise, are biologically modified and pharmacologically palliated
• Measurement of holistic needs in patients with cancer and other chronic diseases, which has led to SPARC (Sheffield Profile for Assessment and Referral for Care)
• Exploring the application and barriers to supportive and palliative care in cancer and other chronic diseases at European level

Selected publications:

1. Ahmedzai, SH, Nauck, F, et al., (2012). A randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, double-dummy, parallel-group study to determine the safety and efficacy of oxycodone/naloxone prolonged-release tablets in patients with moderate/severe, chronic cancer pain. Palliat Med, 26: 50–60.
2. Snowden, J A, Ahmedzai, SH et al. (2011) Haemato-oncology Task Force of British Committee for Standards in Haematology and UK Myeloma Forum. Guidelines for supportive care in multiple myeloma. Br J Haematol, 154: 76–103.
3. Raphael, J, Ahmedzai, S, Hester, J, Urch, C, et al. (2010). Cancer Pain: Part 1: Pathophysiology;Oncological, Pharmacological, and Psychological Treatments: A Perspective from the British Pain Society Endorsed by the UK Association of Palliative Medicine and the Royal College of General Practitioners. Pain Med, 11: 742–764.