Cancer of the Head and Neck (4th edition)


E N Myers et al
Published by Myers (2003) Distributed in Australia by Elsevier
ISBN:  0-7216-9480-2.   825 pages plus index.
RRP:  A$468.60


Cancer of the Head and Neck aims to be a comprehensive review of the management of patients with tumours of the head and neck and since its first edition in 1987 has been a highly regarded reference.  Although targeted principally at surgeons, the book places great emphasis on the multi-disciplinary nature of the care of this group of diseases.  Reflecting the practice in Head and Neck Oncology clinics, significant contributions to the book are made by experienced medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and allied health professionals, in addition to those of well respected head and neck surgeons.

This new edition is a well-produced book now comprising 850 pages, with 37 chapters from 81 contributors practising in 5 countries.  Since the last edition, the overall length of the book has been reduced by consolidating information given in the previous edition but adding additional information in fewer chapters.  There is an updated section on head and neck pathology and a discussion of recent advances in molecular biology, with detail on the current understanding of the molecular and cellular pathogenesis and progression of cancer.  The major component of the book remains 17 chapters on site specific cancers, each with a logical discussion through the relevant anatomy, pre-treatment evaluation, treatment options, surgical and non-surgical approaches and detailed treatment outcomes.  The roles of chemoprevention of tumours and chemotherapy for treatment have now been separated into separate chapters, whereas general issues, such as medical and dental assessments, antibiotic usage, and treatment complications have been incorporated into the site-specific discussions.  There is also strong emphasis on reconstruction, with more detail on practical aspects of oral rehabilitation, functional issues of rehabilitation of speech and swallowing, and their impact on quality of life.  The management of cancer pain and the psychological aspects of cancer care have been combined into a single chapter on supportive and palliative care.

Although the number of contributors has been slightly reduced, there are a large number of new authors, helping the editors achieve their stated aim of producing a text that reflects contemporary practice.  The addition of two new editors is a step designed to keep this reference relevant to contemporary care in the future.  Like the previous edition, this book is highly recommended to any surgeon practising or in training for head and neck oncological surgery and should be in the library of any institution participating in the care of head and neck cancer patients.

Kerwin Shannon
Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW

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