Radiation Oncology


J Cox et al
Published by Mosby (2003)
ISBN:  0-7216-7494-1. 1,002 pages plus index.
RRP: A$368.50


The only difficulty I had reviewing this new textbook by Cox and Ang, was retrieving it from registrars and fellow consultants once the word about the text circulated through the department. It is the textbook of radiation oncology. It is comprehensive and authoritative.

The initial four chapters cover the general principles of radiobiology, physics, combining radiotherapy with surgery and radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy. This is not an unusual approach in such a textbook, however, it is in these chapters we start to see what differentiates this text from other similar RT ‘bibles’. The discussion of fractionation is such an example. This extends from the theoretical to a discussion of clinical trial results and then the lessons learned from fractionation trials. This pattern is followed through the textbook where clinical results are not only presented but there is an overview to place the relevance of the results before the reader. The rest of the textbook follows a standard approach of chapters dedicated to an organ or a region. This however extends to coverage of all topics relevant to a particular region. For example the chapter on the eye covers pterygia, benign tumors and graves opthalmopathy.

Every chapter has an extensive coverage of the acute and late effects of radiotherapy. The coverage of organ toxicity far exceeds any other textbook that I am aware of, both in terms of clarity and comprehension. The text also tackles controversial issues in a manner which is scientifically rigorous and easy to understand. An example of such is the discussion of controversial areas in the management of thyroid carcinoma, including the rationale of radioactive iodine and the aspects of follow up including radioactive iodine scans.

The textbook also has a colour plate section that is largely related to computer dosimetry. There are three histology plates and one clinical photo of peau d’orange. I am a little curious as to why they have added just the one such clinical photo.

There is the failure to describe dose prescriptions in terms of ICRU terminology, namely GTV, PTV and CTV. These concepts are mentioned in the preliminary chapters but are rarely mentioned in the general text.

The text is stated as being the eighth edition. It previously appeared under the lead author of Moss, however significant revisions make the book fresh. The authors should be rewarded with establishment of this textbook as the major reference source for radiation oncology registrars and fellows. I would recommend it be immediately added to any oncology library and indeed to our college training syllabus.

M Penniment
Dept of Radiation Oncology
Royal Adelaide Hospital
Adelaide, SA

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