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From The CriticsReviewer: Aimee Wonderlick, MS, CGC (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a thorough resource for healthcare professionals working in the field of cancer genetics, providing a detailed overview of all aspects of cancer risk assessment and the process of genetic susceptibility testing. Given the explosion of information in the field of cancer genetics over the past several years, this second edition is a much-needed update to the first edition, which was published in 1994.
Purpose: According the author, the purpose is to help new genetic counselors get started, to provide an updated resource for those already in the field, and to provide healthcare professionals not working in the field with a practical resource for key facts and figures. As the only reference devoted entirely to the topic of counseling about cancer, this book is a necessary complement to other books that focus on the medical and scientific details of hereditary cancer syndromes. The author's objectives are met.
Audience: This book is directed primarily at genetic counselors and genetic counseling students, although other healthcare professionals who work with oncology patients and their families will also find it useful. The author is one of the first genetic counselors to begin practicing in the subspecialty of cancer risk counseling, and she continues to be recognized as an expert in the field.
Features: In order to provide cancer risk counseling, practitioners must have an understanding of general information about cancer, including terminology, epidemiology, detection and treatment, and cancer cell biology. These topics are reviewed in the first three chapters. The remainder of the book provides descriptions of 30 major hereditary cancer syndromes and a thorough discussion of the components of cancer risk counseling and the process of genetic susceptibility testing. Chapter 5, which provides a list of hereditary cancer syndromes associated with a specific tumor type, will be particularly useful for genetic counselors in researching differential diagnoses. Both novice and experienced genetic counselors will find that the chapters on collecting and interpreting family histories and the cancer genetic counseling session offer numerous practical suggestions and a well-written, succinct yet systematic, overview of both topics. The majority of referrals to cancer risk counselors are for evaluation of family histories of breast, ovarian, and colon cancer. For this reason, the author could have devoted an entire chapter to more in-depth coverage of the identification and management of hereditary breast/ovarian and hereditary colon cancer syndromes.
Assessment: This is an invaluable, reader-friendly resource for genetic counselors and other clinicians working in the field of cancer genetics. This is also the text of choice for genetic counseling training programs. The case examples have been expanded from the previous edition and reflect the enormous increase in knowledge about the practice of cancer genetic counseling over the last seven years. As much as a book focusing on this emerging field was needed in 1993, a second edition was needed for 2002.