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Oncology: A Multidisciplinary Textbook

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • Book Review
  • Biology
  • Medicine


British Journal of Cancer (1996) 73, 711-712 © 1996 Stockton Press All rights reserved 0007-0920/96 S12.00 Book Reviews Oncology: A Multidisciplinary Textbook Edited by Alan Horwich. London: Chapman & Hall, 1994, 703 pp. £65.00. ISBN 0-412-552507. In most libraries and book shops, the interested reader now has a number of multiauthor comprehensive textbooks of oncology from which to choose. What is different about this one and why should anyone choose it? Firstly, this book is unusual in that it is largely derived from a single institute, The Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research. Secondly, it purports to be multidisciplinary, i.e. representing input from the surgeons and clinical and medical oncologists who make up the individual tumor units which have made major contributions to the Institute's oncology course. As Professor Horwich explains, the book 'represents the didactic components of this course'. It is intended as an introduction to the subject for those embarking on a career in oncology, and a source of information for those in allied specialities. How successful is it in achieving its aims? Like the curate's egg, it is good in parts. The first third of the book describes 'the principles of oncology'. The first three chapters cover epidemiology and molecular and cell biology of cancer, and then the remaining chapters in this first section are orientated towards clinical issues, including diagnosis, treatment and supportive care. While some of these can obviously be found in other books, the standard in the section is generally high, and some of the chapters are particularly creditworthy. Chapters such as New imaging techniques in radiology (Dr R Guy), The pyschological toll of cancer (Dr S Greer) and The scope of cancer nursing (Dr J Corner) do give this book a distinctive flavour; there is also an excellent section called The Principles of cytokine therapy (Drs Taylor and Gore). The second section of about 450 pages comprises 'a systemic reveiw of oncology'. It

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