A Manual for the Prevention of Cancer – Reducing the Odds

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A Manual for the Prevention of Cancer – Reducing the Odds
G Kune (Ed)
Published by Allen & Unwin (1999).
302 pages plus index. RRP: A$24.95

In recent years a number of books dealing with cancer prevention and early detection have been published. A Manual for the Prevention of Cancer – Reducing the Odds is yet another one. This 302 page volume is current, readable, logically and systematically planned text on cancer prevention and early detection. Though written principally for general readership, allied health professionals, health policy makers, counsellors in cancer support groups and interested others will find it useful.
The book is divided into four sections. The first section deals with explanation of how cancer develops which is followed by short description of basic principles of cancer prevention. Differences between primary and secondary prevention are clearly explained using diagrams and tables. Several causes of different cancers are summarised to provide a good overview of the risks of cancer as they relate to an individual.

In the second section of the book each cancer cause is discussed in detail. The details include inherited causes, tobacco and alcohol use, excessive sunlight, the role of diet in cancer causation, physical inactivity, sexual practices and life stresses. This section also mentions some carcinogens that may be found in the environment and in the workplace that could play an important part in the aetiology of some cancers. Occupational Health personnel may find this information particularly useful as it is not readily accessible in general prevention and early detection texts.

The third section of the book describes screening tests and current Australian recommendations that are available for various types of cancer. Less commonly occurring cancers that are often not mentioned in general texts on prevention and early detection are also discussed in this section. 

The fourth section includes a comprehensive individual cancer prevention program that advocates healthy lifestyle for those with average risk and for those with one or more known personal risk factors. 
There are nine achievable primary prevention recommendations tabled. Similar recommendations are given for participating in known and available screening procedures. A positive and sensible conclusion, which suggests that using the individual prevention program in collaboration with a medical practitioner could markedly reduce the risk of developing cancer. If however cancer develops the program may assist in early identification. 

The last part of the book contains a comprehensive glossary of technical terms, references for further reading and the addresses of major cancer organisations in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and USA. The national Australian telephone information is also included.

Although this book does not cover treatment, it is a good and quick reference for the general public and for those who work in prevention and early detection of cancer.

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