Breast Cancer: A Practical Guide 3rd Edition

Reviewed by:


OE Silva, S Zurrida (eds)
Elsevier Saunders (2005)
ISBN: 0-7020-2744-8 625 pages plus index
RRP: $95.00

F9-2C-BA-01-B2-9A-40-E4-82-7C-02-68-E4-BA-9B-A8As suggested by the title, this book serves as a very useful ‘practical guide’ or handbook for all clinicians working in the field, researching or studying the various areas of breast cancer. The style and format is such that the key concepts are emphasised in a very succinct and comprehensive manner, using dot points and underscoring of pertinent words and phrases.

Topics covered include the full spectrum of breast disease with the first chapter providing excellent information on benign disease with descriptions of the common conditions such as cysts and fibroadenomas to less common conditions such as Mondor disease and Harmartomas. Topics in other chapters include an interesting history of breast cancer, followed by topics such as epidemiology, risk factors, screening, imaging studies, evaluation of palpable breast mass and nipple discharge, breast pathology, staging and prognostic factors. Invasive cancer, carcinoma in situ and non-invasive cancer are also discussed and provide information relating to the various treatment modalities and clinical care across the disease trajectory. The last chapter highlights issues in breast cancer liability which may be more reflective of the American health and legal systems, nevertheless, providing ‘food for thought’ for the Australian health professional.

Psychosocial issues in breast cancer are also covered, with insightful information on breast cancer and depression and menopausal symptoms and their management, providing health professionals, in particular breast care nurses, with very useful and up to date information. The discussion of these psychosocial issues highlight the need to focus on supportive as well as clinical care in order to optimise care for patients along the different stages of the cancer journey.

Unusual presentations are covered in the final section of this book with chapters on Paget’s disease, breast cancer and pregnancy and male breast cancer. This is useful as health professionals are often challenged in the care of patients presenting with these features.

A great feature of this text is the manner in which the data and information is quoted and referenced all on the same page – essentially providing the reader with a comprehensive literature review and a synopsis of data from relevant high quality peer-reviewed articles and papers published as recently as 2005. This makes it possible for the reader to further search out a reference with ease if desired.

The book has many excellent contributions from medical experts from the US and Europe. It concludes with three appendices containing information on the national breast cancer support organisations, support groups in the US and a list of charges and costs related to breast cancer treatment in the US and Europe. As such, the Australian reader would find this information locally irrelevant, however the web-based organisations listed can be of global interest.

I have no reservations in recommending this book, as described by the authors, as an excellent ‘bedside’ reference and compendium of breast cancer information for all health professionals working in, or who may have an interest in this illness.

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