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From The CriticsReviewer: Carol Scott-Conner, MD, PhD (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This compact book addresses various key issues in colorectal cancer. It is unique in that it is written for the "entire team," which has led the authors of each chapter to use a conversational writing style that is very welcome. The emphasis throughout is on the clear presentation of useful, practical information. The previous edition was published in 2000, thus a second edition is quite timely.
Purpose: Robert W Beart, Jr., states in the foreword that this book provides an "up-to-date record of the rapidly evolving alternatives" in chapters which span the gamut from prevention through palliation. It is written for subspecialist physicians, nurses, and other members of the medical team. The emphasis throughout is providing this team with concrete, useful information. Although the authors are predominantly from the U.K., European and American issues are identified throughout.
Audience: The book is clearly written for the entire team of practitioners. Students and residents are also apt to find this a welcome summary. This is not necessarily a book for the academic subspecialist, who will likely find the summary of his or her particular area of interest a bit cursory (of necessity). Because of the prevalence of colorectal cancer, the book should be useful to a wide range of healthcare providers across a gamut of specialties. The clear, practical, and conversational tone of the writing makes it easy to read. The authors are all highly credible authorities in the field.
Features: An excellent chapter on prevention begins the book, "Does lifestyle cause colorectal cancer?" It progresses naturally through screening to treatment, including the latest trends in minimal access surgery (laparoscopic and transanal endoscopic microsurgery). An excellent chapter on pathology, characteristic of the tone of the book, emphasizes how the pathologist can judge adequacy of resection. Treatment of metastatic disease and palliation round out the book, and a final chapter gives future directions. The book is perhaps most notable for the consistently readable style, appropriate level of documentation, and careful use of black-and-white illustrations.
Assessment: This book will occupy a unique niche. The second edition was clearly needed, and provides an update in a rapidly changing field.