Cancer and Pregnancy

Reviewed by:


E Barnea et al (eds)
Published by Springer (2001)
ISBN: 20011-85233-374-X.
302 pages plus index.
RRP: US$139.00

This book is a unique look at two common events, which are linked only rarely. It attempts to both review the current knowledge of specific cancers occurring during pregnancy, and also to compare and contrast the biological scenarios of pregnancy and oncogenesis.

Cancer during pregnancy presents many challenges, which are not encountered by individual clinicians with any great frequency. Thus, having this book to refer to may prove useful at the bedside. The book may be used by obstetricians, oncologists, surgeons, specialist nurses, midwives and others. The book is edited by gynaecologists and so is often slanted to this field. Additionally, as a source of background and reference, pathologists, epidemiologists and other researchers will find it interesting.

Some clinical chapters give useful management algorithms and best practice guidelines. They are on the whole short, readable and well-referenced. It may have been more useful to include illustrative cases from chapter 12 in each relevant chapter. The ethical challenges are also well laid out in a scholarly, but readable, way.

The book becomes somewhat controversial, contrived, and less useful, when tackling “philosophical” issues of comparing and contrasting the biology of pregnancy and cancer, although the chapter on HCG is speculative but very provocative and well-referenced.

My main criticisms are the apparent lack of editorial control leading to widely different styles (including reference systems), and level of detail which makes reading the book cover to cover frustrating: “grazing” is thus recommended! I would also have welcomed a detailed chapter on fertility issues.

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