May 2001, Vol. 8, No. 2
The Journal of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists
Atlas of Breast Cancer, 2nd edition Edited by Daniel F. Hayes London, Mosby, 154 pages, $95.00, 2001
The quality of writing throughout is exemplary and many book editors would do well to learn from Dr. Hayes. He either gave very clear instructions to his contributors or spent a great deal of time ensuring that the style was consistent and clear. While mentioning individuals involved, it would be churlish to fail to commend these thought leaders for the effortless way they wove a narrative that will serve all audiences well. I especially liked chapters on subjects I truly know little about, such as processing breast biopsies (Stuart Schnitt), and applaud the straightforward language in Chapter 2 (Risk Factors, Epidemiology and Development of Breast Cancer) and Chapter 10 (Breast Cancer Radiotherapy). The references for further reading are well selected and concise, and the index is thorough without being tiresome. I do hate searching through an index that seems to serve no useful purpose! In summary, this is a beautifully presented volume that should fulfill the needs of medical students, residents, and physicians with an interest in breast cancer. It will grace many bookshelves.
It is always an honor to be asked to review a book for a peer-reviewed journal; rarely is it such a pleasure as this experience has been. Intended as an aid to teaching and progression from the first edition published in the early 1990s, this book is so much more. In preparation for this review, I read a sample of several other reviewers’ work for this journal and came across this comment by Carl Levinson [J Am Assoc Laparosc 7(2):291, 2000]: “Most reviewers save their carping for the end of the review (which I consider unfair since the comments linger longer in the memory). Here are mine…”; and he then listed a couple of minor criticisms. I can go one better than Dr. Levinson—the only fault I find with this book is that it is not more comprehensive, covering such issues as care and comfort of women with breast cancer or the future of breast oncology. Indeed, titled as an “atlas,” one would expect to find illustrations and photographs with brief explanatory bylines. The reality is much more fulfilling. As a teaching aid, I believe a good number of excellent tables, illustrations, operative technique photographs, and photomicrographs will find their way into many a lecturer’s slide carousel. They are clear, beautifully reproduced, and liberally yet economically support the text.
Jonathan M. Sackier, M.D. Great Falls, VA