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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Amy L Halverson, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is the updated version of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for solid organ tumors. The previous edition was published in 1997.
Purpose: AJCC has long provided a standard for tumor staging. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment and increased understanding of certain prognostic indicators necessitate periodic revision of staging systems. This new edition contains clarifications on anatomic descriptions and revisions of the TNM definitions for many specific body sites.
Audience: This book is essential for cancer registrars and any physicians, whether in training or in practice for many years, who are involved in the care of cancer patients. In the United States, the AJCC-TNM classification system is the primary staging system used in Commission on Cancer approved hospitals.
Features: This sixth edition is in the same basic format as the fifth edition and now has colored headings, section tabs, and improved graphics that make it more reader friendly. A summary of changes made to the manual since the previous edition is highlighted at the beginning of each chapter. The first chapter describes the general basis of the staging system. The second chapter gives a limited overview of cancer survival analysis. This chapter has a few graphs illustrating survival curves and would benefit from more illustrations. The explanations, although very basic, may be confusing to the reader who does not already have a good understanding of survival analysis methodology. The remainder of the book is divided into sections according to organ system with chapters for specific body sites. A brief review of anatomy and the details of tumor, lymph node, and metastatic classification are given for each body site. Relevant tumor characteristics and prognostic factors are also discussed. Each chapter includes staging forms to be used to record the TNM classification. Also included is a CD-ROM that has the staging forms for each body site in PDF format.
Assessment: This is an essential reference for surgeons and medical oncologists. The sixth edition contains important staging system revisions and clarifications.