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From The CriticsReviewer: John William Eklund, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: With contributions from leaders in the field of oncology, this handbook focuses on cancer chemotherapy and highlights many of the important aspects including indications, administration and dosing, side effects, and supportive care. This is a useful reference for those involved in the management of cancer patients.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a clear and concise source of information regarding the administration of chemotherapy to cancer patients. It is a pocket-sized guide that is ideal for the busy practitioner. Those in training, specifically oncology fellows, may find it useful to read the initial section on staging and treatment recommendations in its entirety. However, this book functions best as a handy reference. The detailed section on chemotherapy dose modifications and precautions is particularly helpful.
Audience: Although the book is intended for the "busy hematologist/oncologist, fellow, or advanced nurse practitioner," anyone involved in the dispensation of chemotherapy, including pharmacists, may find it valuable. The book has a strictly clinical focus, and is not intended to emphasize the basic science behind chemotherapy.
Features: The book is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on therapy, and has a concise summary of three to five pages for each type of cancer starting with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and concluding with HIV-related malignancies. Included in these summaries are staging outlines and treatment recommendations. The first section also reviews toxicity grading and chemotherapy dose modifications and precautions. The second section focuses on the individual chemotherapeutic agents themselves, and summarizes each agent in one to two pages. Newer agents such as bortezomib and gefitinib are included. The final section focuses on symptom control. Important issues such as nausea and vomiting, mucositis, anorexia, pain management, hiccups, suppression of menses, hot flashes. and others are discussed.
Assessment: This handbook is an excellent resource for anyone involved in the administration of chemotherapy. New to the second edition are the coverage of emerging agents and current perspectives on the expanding role of chemotherapy. When compared with other cancer chemotherapy handbooks, this one has both pros and cons. Although the malignancy treatment summaries are useful in general, I find the summaries from the Handbook of Cancer Chemotherapy, 6th edition, by Skeel (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003), to be more comprehensive and helpful. Likewise, the Physicians' Cancer Chemotherapy Drug Manual 2004, by Chu and DeVita (Jones and Bartlett, 2003), has more detailed pharmacologic information. On the other hand, the major assets of this handbook are the sections on dose modifications and precautions and symptom control.