M Stack et al
Published by Kluwer (2001)
ISBN: 0-7923-7530-0. 381 pages plus index.
This book is part of a series on Cancer Treatment and Research edited by Steven Rosen. The book itself is edited by two of the contributors and has 68 contributors in all, which does lead to some overlap and repetition. The book is divided into two parts. The first third deals with the treatment of ovarian cancer and the second two-thirds with recent advances in research.
The section on treatment has several chapters on early detection of ovarian cancer, which were well-written and comprehensive, and included information on risk assessment, genetic testing and potential new serum markers. The chapter on diagnosis and treatment covers basic principles and the rationale for treatment well. A chapter on ultrasound and ovarian cancer was included, but is redundant as most of the information presented was covered in the chapter on early detection.
Once I got to the section on research, things became more difficult. Many of the chapters were too detailed and covered information so specialised that I suspect most practising clinicians would have difficulty following the text, let alone understanding it. The only exceptions to this were the chapters on telomerases and malignant transformation, and angiogenesis and metastasis that I found interesting and (relatively) easy to understand. The chapter on cytopathology of the ovary seemed misplaced in the research section of the book as well as being misnamed, since it dealt mainly with basic histopathology rather than cytopathology and did not present any new information. The colour plates included in this chapter would have augmented the text well, except they were too small.
The book suffers from poor copy editing. Occasionally the font size changes from paragraph to paragraph for no apparent reason, some references are not fully cited, and in one chapter the same figure was reproduced twice under different headings. These may be small points, but they are distracting when reading the book and not what you would expect from such an expensive book.
Overall, it is not clear who is the target audience for this book. The section on treatment gives a good basic review of diagnosis and treatment. However, the section on research is more highly detailed than your average clinician treating ovarian cancer would refer to on a regular basis. It does provide up-to-date information on new and emerging research in ovarian cancer, and highlights those areas that may become clinically relevant in the future. Perhaps it is best suited as a reference book for a departmental library, although at US$220.00 it is not great value for money.