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From The CriticsReviewer: Toby C Campbell, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: With this third edition, the editors have done an excellent job updating this comprehensive textbook on the art and science of palliative care and supportive oncology. The book adeptly instructs readers about the evaluation and management of virtually all symptoms cancer patients face while covering the complex spiritual, emotional, political, and psychological challenges providers must be comfortable addressing in the seriously ill.
Purpose: This is a comprehensive review of supportive oncology, including "the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues faced by persons with cancer, their families, their communities, and their health care providers." In the modern age, oncologists and palliative care physicians must be complete physicians, skilled in both the management of disease and in the care of an individual. This is an excellent reference and the definitive textbook in this emerging specialty.
Audience: It is an important textbook for any healthcare practitioner in oncology and palliative medicine. The third edition improves its coverage of nonmalignant diseases discusses how to create a palliative care program. The editors and authors are well respected thought leaders in the field.
Features: All the issues which may lead to suffering in the cancer patient or the family are covered, including the physical symptoms and syndromes, psychosocial issues, caregiver concerns, communication, cross-cultural issues, and ethical concerns at the end of life. The book also covers special populations such as those with AIDS, research issues, procedures, hospice, and how to start a palliative care program. One of the best features is the breadth of coverage of non-symptom issues, particularly patient-practitioner communication and psychological suffering. The references are up to date and the index is easy to use. This is a well written, well designed textbook without any glaring deficiencies.
Assessment: I have found this to be the most helpful textbook in the field of palliative care. It is easier to read and has a more practical approach than the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 3rd edition, Doyle et al. (Oxford University Press, 2003) and the other first edition books that have appeared recently. It is the perfect desktop reference for any oncologist or palliative care physician.