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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ann Pittier, MD (University of Washington Medical Center)
Description: This book reviews the most common side effects associated with radiation, including the pathophysiology, presenting symptoms, and management, in an outline format.
Purpose: The goal is to educate practitioners about prophylaxis, treatment, pathophysiology, and management of acute and long term side effects. This is indeed a key topic in the everyday management of the radiation patient. In general, the objectives set out by the authors were met.
Audience: The target audience includes the radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, oncology nurses, radiation therapists as well as students. Practically, it is written for the radiation oncologist, but all the above could benefit from the content. Multiple authors contribute to the book edited by two well known physicians.
Features: This book addresses the toxicity associated with the treatment of specific cancers (i.e. breast cancer) or body region (head and neck). It reviews patient education, acute and long term toxicity management, prophylaxis against side effects, and risk to tissue according to dosimetry. There are numerous figures, tables, and pictures that adequately illustrate incidence, grades and predictors of specific side effects. There are many important side effects that are not addressed, for example, nausea and vomiting in the head and neck patient. This should be described with work-up defined and a practical differential diagnosis provided along with various treatment options. The outline format is often difficult to follow. If an outline is to be used, it should be presented at the beginning of each chapter in a table of contents format for easy reference. Also, the complete topic should be addressed under each heading, rather than piecemeal as it is in this book. If this is not the way it is set up, it would be preferable to simply title different sections rather than label them with letters and numbers.
Assessment: This is a relatively good quality book with some organizational drawbacks. It addresses important topics that are applied to patients on a daily basis. In general, I would recommend this book to my colleagues.