Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Gale Encyclopedia Of Cancer Vol. 1 & 2

List Price: $350.00

PDF: 1419 pages
Publisher: Thomson Gale; 2nd edition.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414403623
ISBN-13: 978-1414403625

In a statement immediately preceding the introduction, the publisher states clearly that this encyclopedia is "is intended to supplement, not replace, consultation with a physician or other healthcare professional." That said, this second edition of a work first published in 2001 is an excellent resource for anyone seeking a greater understanding of cancer.

Specific cancers, diagnostic procedures, treatments, and much more are discussed thoroughly and in straightforward lay language. Cancer biology, Carcinogenesis, Cancer prevention, Clinical trials, and other cancer-related topics are among the 450 or more entries presented in A-Z format. Uniform entries on specific types of cancer begin with a definition, a description, and demographic and statistical information before focusing on the details--causes, symptoms, diagnosis (including tests and procedures), e-treatment, prognosis, patient coping, home care, prevention, and special concerns. The frank and rather clinical-sounding treatment discussion includes staging, standards, and, when appropriate, alternative therapies, anticipated side effects, and even questions for the doctor. Key terms used in the discussion are identified and explained; clinical trials are noted.

Entries on drugs, medical procedures, and therapies are based on the same format. Each begins with the definition, a statement of purpose or use, and a description. Drugs are identified by their chemical formulae and generic and brand names. Dosage information resembles that in the Physician's Desk Reference but is presented in lay language. Precautions, interactions, side effects, and risks are covered. Medical procedures (therapies and tests) are thoroughly outlined from start to finish, including preparation, risk, and aftercare. Both normal and abnormal results are identified. All types of entries conclude with lists of resources to consult. Usually these are books, periodicals, and organizations. Diagrams and photos from medical texts are peppered throughout the encyclopedia. Several full-skeleton body-system illustrations serve as additional identification aids.

An encyclopedia of this caliber would not be complete without lists of support groups, government agencies, research centers, and comprehensive cancer centers. These appear in the appendixes. Three pages of contributors to this encyclopedia, with credentials and affiliations, precede the main text. This outstanding medical resource belongs in public, academic, and medical libraries accessible to patients and their families.

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