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Beneficial Effects of Endotoxins

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


Br. J. Cancer (1984), 49, 541-542 BOOK REVIEWS International Advances in Surgical Oncology - Vol. 6. G.P. MURPHY, New York, Alan R. Liss, Inc., 374 pp, 1983, £58. Unlike most book series of this genre, the readership would appear at first to be readily identified as specialists claiming to be surgical oncologists; but in this country it is still arguable whether such a specialty exists in its own right. (The controversy as to whether Britain is in fact 40 years behind the United States of America in the field of surgical oncology is currently being debated within the columns of the British Medical Journal). This volume highlights the dilemma. Of the dozen or so chapters, two would appeal to the head and neck surgeons, two to the gynaecologists, two to the general surgeons, one to the thoracic surgeons and one to the urologists. Does an individual surgeon in this country deal with cancer of the head and neck, cancer of the cervix and broncho- genic cancer as well as dealing with the gastro- intestinal malignancies? If not, there is no appropriate readership for this book. My other major criticism is the solipsist view of the subject, characteristic of American volumes, which goes beyond the simple avoidance of citations of European contributions to oncology in expressing a peculiarly American attitude to a number of the subjects covered. For example, cyto- reductive surgery for various advanced cancers has theoretical attractions so far untested scientifically, and yet is expressed as an article of faith in a number of areas of this book. The chapter by Letton, entitled "Improved Survival by Routine Screening for Breast Cancer", is again quite extra- ordinary in its North American uncritical acceptance of routine screening. The author starts out with the extraordinary dogmatic statement, that as the mortality from breast cancer is static in the United States of America and the incidence of the disease is increasing, therefore more women are being cured than previously, completely ignoring the f

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