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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James G Douglas, MD, MS (Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County)
Description: This is the second edition of a book provides a concise summary of the current practice of radiation oncology, with chapters describing the pathology, diagnosis, and treatment techniques for different cancers treated with radiation therapy. The first edition was published in 1999.
Purpose: As the authors point out, approximately 60 percent of all cancer patients in the U.S. receive radiotherapy as part of their therapy, either as a primary, curative therapy, adjunct therapy, or palliative therapy. The book was written to provide a "pocket-sized radiation oncology manual for medical students, residents, and radiation oncologists that would be useful for immediate consultation in the clinics." This book does excellently fill the niche between oversimplified manuals and more comprehensive textbooks of radiation oncology. It is an extremely useful tool for residents and students in radiation oncology, although as the field has expanded, one needs to have a large pocket in which to carry this book.
Audience: It is intended primarily for residents, medical students, and nonphysician practitioners who are involved in the treatment of cancer with radiation therapy. It is also a quick resource for the practicing radiation oncologist. The contributors are well known and credible authorities in radiation oncology.
Features: The first of the book's three sections, encompassing 12 chapters, covers the fundamentals of radiation oncology, with discussion of the physics and techniques of radiation therapy. A new chapter devoted to intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has also been added. The second section, which consists of the majority of the book (from chapters 13 through 63), focuses on the field of oncology, divided by organ systems. Each chapter discusses the anatomy, clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, staging, and management of a specific cancer. Of note, the management section describes the setup for a typical radiation field (usually with pictures), with recommendations for the radiation dose and fractionation. The potential side effects of radiation therapy for each organ system are also well covered in each chapter. The final section of the book covers pain management, a crucial topic in the management of cancer patients.
Assessment: This book provides a concise, yet highly informative, review of the practice of radiation oncology. It will be especially useful for medical students and residents training in the field. The chapters on specific cancers are especially useful, with detailed descriptions and/or pictures of the fields used for treatment. Most radiation oncology residents, students and some radiation oncology practitioners should find this book a helpful reference in their daily practice.