2005 Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook


G M Wilkes & M B Burke
Jones & Bartlett Publishers ( 2004 )
ISBN: 0-7637-3058-0  1101 pages plus index
RRP: $US54.95

The 2005 edition of Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook by Gail M. Wilkes & Margaret Barton-Burke continues in the proven style of previous editions. The book is written for nurses by nurses, providing the experienced cancer nurse and those new to the specialty with a detailed resource concerning current cancer drug information. This edition is updated to include the latest anti-cancer treatments and an additional chapter detailing molecular targeted therapies.

For those not familiar with the layout, the book is divided into three sections –¬ treatment, symptom management and complications.

Section 1: Treatment

This is the largest section comprising more than half the 1100 pages of the book. It is dedicated to current and investigational drugs. Also outlined are pre-treatment nursing assessment guidelines.

Chapter one, Introduction to Chemotherapy Drugs, includes a table detailing the mechanism of action of cytotoxic drugs in the cell cycle, a useful reminder for all nurses. Successive chapters cover Biological Response Modifier Therapy; Antineoplastic Treatment; Agonists: Radio sensitisers, Chemo sensitisers; Chemical Adjuncts; and Cytoprotective Agents. The final chapter, Molecularly Targeted Therapies, incorporates a detailed section on basic cell biology.

Section 2: Symptom Management

This details the management of pain; nausea and vomiting; anorexia and cachexia; and anxiety and depression.

Section 3 deals with five complications – constipation, hypercalcaemia, infection, constipation and diarrhoea. The chapters provide an introductory outline of incidence of occurrence, reasons for manifestation and treatment options.

Each section of the book contains detailed drug information, including indications for drug use, side effects, mechanisms of action and nursing implications. The nursing implications are provided in a nursing process format. The chemotherapy agent section includes practical self help advice for patients and their families.

Additional to the main text are 3 appendixes.

Appendix 1 Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs

This is very comprehensive, including drugs other than cytotoxic chemotherapy. To be remembered is that the recommendations are American and there may be differences in Australian standard worksafe recommendations.

Appendix 2 National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria

This is provides a review of potential treatment related toxicities, listed alphabetically with descriptions and gradings.

Appendix 3 Cancer Chemotherapeutic Regimes (Adult)

Regimes are identified as indicated for specific cancers. This section is thorough, detailing single agent and combination regimes and provides current references. Not all regimes are in use in Australia.

The handbook is a high quality reference tool and is updated annually. Each chapter is well written, with information that is clear, concise and well referenced. It is a valuable resource for all nurses working in oncology. Also available in software for PC or palm pilot there is potential of placing this large handbook in your pocket on the ward.

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