P Carroll et al (ed)
Published by B C Decker (2002) Distributed in Australia by Elsevier
ISBN: 1-5500-9130-1. 386 pages plus index.
This is one of a series of Atlases of Clinical Oncology endorsed by the American Cancer Society that cover a diverse range of oncological subjects. These books are issued with a CD-ROM inside the front cover, available as a package only. The CD provides the complete text and colour illustrations, aiming, according to the publishers “to complement traditional … learning methods”.
Prostate Cancer provides an overview of the aetiology, epidemiology, genetics, anatomy, pathology and management of prostate cancer. It is extensively referenced and provides the reader with a fairly comprehensive review of relevant research, both at the molecular and clinical level. It does not, however, attempt to synthesise many of the controversies of the management of prostate cancer into clinically useful recommendations, and for this reason should be viewed more as an information resource. Readers seeking practical guidelines for the management of their patients would be disappointed.
The reviewer, as a radiation oncologist, found the radiotherapy sections disproportionately brief in relation to the importance of this modality in the treatment of the disease and in comparison with more esoteric sections dealing with newer experimental local therapies, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and thermal therapy. There is clearly a surgical slant in the authorship and chapter structure although the discussion of management options is reasonably balanced on the whole. The book has strong sections on the nature and management of post-treatment morbidities, relating both to surgery and radiotherapy.
There is a detailed chapter on the palliative management of prostate cancer patients, although again, the useful role of radiopharmaceutical agents in this setting, such as Strontium-89, were in the reviewer’s opinion, underplayed in contrast to less proven options. The extensive use of complementary and alternative medicines in this disease are appropriately highlighted in their own chapter. Unfortunately but inevitably perhaps, some sections, like the one on bisphosphonates, are already out-of-date.
Overall, I think this is a useful resource for clinicians, students or scientists interested in prostate cancer and the electronic format may make it more attractive for some readers – in fact providing two complete volumes for the price of one.
Dept of Radiation Oncology
Westmead Hospital, NSW