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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gregory A. Masters, MD (Evanston Hospital)
Description: This cancer text has short chapters on most major malignancies with a strong focus on stem cell transplantation and hematologic malignancies. This is a second edition updated from 1994.
Purpose: In the preface the editors state that this book will give a brief overview to allow clinicians an opportunity to make treatment decisions and explain strategies to patients and families. I believe these objectives are relatively well met with the caveat that the book is rather wordy, and therefore a bit cumbersome.
Audience: The intended audience is oncology clinicians in practice who may need a brief review on a given topic in a short time frame. It may also be valuable to students, residents, or fellows in training, as well as to other advanced practitioners such as nurse clinicians or physician assistants. The editors and contributors represented in this text are generally regarded as respected leaders in their field.
Features: The editors focus nicely on three general areas including solid tumors, hematologic malignancies, and stem cell transplantation, as well as the evaluation and management of patients in each of these three settings. Each chapter includes a descriptive background including demographics and genetic factors in each malignancy, followed by an overview of diagnostic and evaluation strategies, followed by a brief review of treatment options and alternatives. The graphics are minimal, and the editors often attempt to encompass too much information into a short review, rather than focusing on basic evaluation and management strategies. The references focus on major clinical trials, and the index is quite comprehensive.
Assessment: This textbook is an attempt to provide a quick resource for clinicians. Unfortunately, it lacks the optimal format for this purpose, with too strong a focus on descriptive text. A stronger focus on graphics, including charts, tables, and algorithms, would contribute to the readability of this text. This textbook may end up on the bedside table for descriptive reviews of a given tumor type.