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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James G Douglas, MD, MS (Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County)
Description: This book focuses primarily on the use of radiotherapy for palliation. The authors accurately point to the fact that 45 to 50 percent of patients with malignant diseases eventually present for consideration of radiotherapy to treat recurrent and/or metastatic disease.
Purpose: The purpose is to deal with the issue of the use of irradiation in the palliative setting in a "clear, concise and important manner." Palliative treatment of malignant disease comprises a large segment of any radiation oncology practice and thus this is a subject of interest to all radiation oncologists. These objectives for the most part are met by the authors.
Audience: The preface suggests that the "book will prove both useful and interesting not only to radiation oncologists but also to medical students of all ages and to doctors from all disciplines focused upon the relief or prevention of suffering in patients with cancer." I think most likely this book will be useful primarily to radiation oncologists and radiation oncology residents with a limited usefulness for medical oncologists. The authors are well respected leaders in the field of radiation oncology.
Features: The title is somewhat misleading in that the primary focus of the book is not to thoroughly cover the use of radiotherapy as a curative modality, but to present a concise summary of its use for palliation. It is organized largely by organ systems with a brief description in each chapter of the use of irradiation or combined modalities as primary treatment and then in the recurrent/palliative manner. A useful summary of current studies is included in each chapter. The second chapter deals with the measurement tools and management of pain and is especially well written. It gives the reader a concise, organized approach to the medical management of oncology patients at various levels on the pain spectrum. This chapter should be particularly helpful to practitioners who treat these patients.
Assessment: The treatment of painful lesions with radiotherapy for palliation is an integral part of the practice of radiation oncology. This book is a concise summary of current approaches in accomplishing optimal pain control in oncology patients with the use of pain medications and radiation. It is a useful resource for the practicing radiation oncologist and radiation oncology resident.