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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Devanshi Patel, MS (Evanston Northwestern Healthcare)
Description: This title is a succinct 117-page book that provides readers with a brief summary of issues pertinent to understanding breast cancer. The book is made up of six chapters that offer a vast amount of information on epidemiology, etiology, genetics, prevention, treatment, and research related to breast cancer. It also includes an appendix that lists organizations involved with breast cancer, a glossary, and an index. There is also a section on notes where Dr. Zimmerman highlights key points that she was not able to make within the context of the book.
Purpose: Although it is important to keep in mind that breast cancer is a multifactorial disease that involves complex interactions between both genes and the environment, the current climate of genetic research has made it possible to achieve great strides in the elucidation of genetic factors related to breast cancer. These discoveries have put forth a plethora of information that warrants consolidation. With her book entitled, Understanding Breast Cancer Genetics, author Barbara T. Zimmerman, PhD attempts to do just this.
Audience: This book would be a valuable and quick read for any health care professional who is new to the field of clinical oncology.
Features: While I think this book has many strengths, one of which is the amalgamation of a breadth of information, I do have a couple of suggestions that I would like to offer. First, although the book does go into great detail about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, and references Li-Fraumeni syndrome and ataxia telangiectasia, mention of the other hereditary syndromes that are associated with an increase risk of breast cancer should have also been included. Also, the title of the book should exclude the word genetics. This may be able to capture a wider audience and be more reflective of the content of the book. Even though Dr. Zimmerman dedicates two full chapters to genetics and highlights genetics throughout the book where it is relevant, this book contains a lot of non-genetic information that is quite worthwhile. It would be a shame if someone were to dismiss it based on the assumption that it is solely dedicated to the genetics of breast cancer.
Assessment: I think many authors that attempt this nature of summarization may have difficulty in enticing most readers to peruse their book from cover to cover. However, I think Dr. Zimmerman accomplishes this. She makes this book an easy read by not only offering complex information in simple terms but also by including historical information that keeps the reader captivated.