Top 10 bestsellers

Top 10 bestsellers

De libris CancerTips By Metz JM Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002 $19.95 (£13·88, €22·54), pp 178 ISBN 0 781 72564 X CancerTips is a pocket-sized b...

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De libris CancerTips By Metz JM Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002 $19.95 (£13·88, €22·54), pp 178 ISBN 0 781 72564 X

CancerTips is a pocket-sized book that brings together a collection of helpful hints and interesting information to help guide patients through the often intimidating course of their disease. James M Metz, the author, came up with the idea for the book after joining the staff of OncoLink (, and observing the popularity of the ‘OncoTips’ section of the website, which included short explanations of different aspects of cancer medicine and useful tips about diet and lifestyle. The book represents more than a collection of cancer information, it is a unique publishing experiment which now-traditional print-to-web production process in reverse. The OncoLink website has been going since 1997 and carries the proud title of being the “First Multimedia Oncology


10 bestsellers

1 Churchill’s pocketbook of oncology 2






Barr et al pp 208 £17·99 (€29·35, $25·85) Atlas of breast cancer Hayes pp 208 £52·99 (€86·44, $76·14) Atlas of diagnostic oncology Skarin pp 640 £120 (€195·75, $172·43) Cancer medicine Bast et al pp 2900 £199 (€324·61, $285·94) Clinical oncology (2 volumes) Abeloff pp 2376 £175 (€285·46, $251·46) Cancer treatment Haskell pp 1682 £139 (€226·73, $199·73) CD-Atlas of diagnostic oncology Skarin CD-ROM £149 (€243·05, $214·10)

8 Molecular basis of cancer

9 Cancer of the head and neck

10 Oncologic imaging

Mendelsohn et al pp 700 £120 (€195·74, $172·43) Shah pp 374 £102 (€166·38, $146·56) Bragg pp 289 £139 (€226·74, $199·73)

Resource,” but apparently, millions of visitors to the website are just a drop in the ocean to the OncoLink editors who decided that their content was not being distributed to enough people. “Millions have seen, read, and followed [the OncoTips]”, explains Joel W Godwin, founding editor of the website, “but this represents only a fraction of those confronting cancer on a daily basis. By providing these tips in the format of a book … we believe we can take this project a step further.” Unlike most patient-information resources, CancerTips is not a “bluffers guide to…” type of book. There are no crash courses in tumour biology and no lists of drug names or tables of statistics. In fact, the basics of the disease are hardly mentioned at all. This might seem like a glaring omission, but it is not until you start reading that you realise many of the details percieved by most authors as “essential information” for patients are actually more or less peripheral to the day-today problems patients encounter when coping with cancer. The book starts with a fairly lengthy discussion about the absolute necessity of giving up smoking. The numerous fatal diseases associated with smoking are listed alongside simple substantiating facts, which make the message unmissably

Atlas of diagnostic oncology

A comprehensive visual display, which includes clinical photographs and macroscopic cancer pictures.

Atlas of breast cancer

Established clinical standards and controversial issues are discussed in series of reviews, which cover a broad spectrum of breast-cancer care.

Oncologic imaging

First published in 1985, now completely updated to reflect the latest developments in imaging.

Data courtesy of Elsevier Science and is applicable up to December, 2002. Elsevier Science includes the following imprints: BC Decker, Mosby, Churchill Livingstone, and Saunders. Data exclude US sales. For all books, the first price listed is the selling price in the country of issue; prices in parentheses are direct currency conversions, which may not reflect local sale prices.


THE LANCET Oncology Vol 3 November 2002

For personal use. Only reproduce with permission from The Lancet Publishing Group.

De libris clear: don’t smoke or it will kill you. A good starting point. Section 1 goes on to describe the screening and diagnostic techniques that are generally used or available in the USA. Each is dealt with from the point of view of what someone would experience if they were having one of the tests, which makes the information a lot easier to relate to than a series of facts. The summaries, sometimes short, but lengthy for controversial topics like mammography, list the relative benefits and supporting evidence for each procedure and provide the basis for pertinent question-asking. In fact, the whole book is geared towards encouraging a discursive relationship between patient and physician. According to Metz, “This book will help you become an active member of your healthcare team.” He explains in the preface that in putting these tips together his aim was to enable patients to take control of their situation and confidently question whether the treatment and advice they are receiving is right for them. In section 2, the possible side-effects of cancer treatment are highlighted. It was this part of the book that I found particularly impressive. Virtually all common side-effects are described, but the unique feature of this text is that each section is accompanied by a list of recommendations to help patients deal with the way they are feeling. There are many suggestions based around altering diet: from what to eat, to when, and even how much. And other simple tips that

The breast cancer wars By Lerner BH Oxford University Press, 2001 $30·00 (£20·87, €33·90), pp 383 ISBN 0 195 14261 6

Breast cancer seems to be constantly in the news in developed countries. As the most common cancer in US women (one in eight women will develop the disease), it is a topic that always stimulates passionate debate. Many ‘big names’ associated with the disease have helped to promote its high profile; the surgeons William Halsted (perhaps America’s greatest), Barney Crile, and George T Pack; famous patients such as Betty Ford, Shirley Temple Black, and Happy Rockefeller; and patient activists such as Rose Kushner and Betty Rollin. Such personalities are discussed along with issues such as, paternalism, Nixon’s “war on cancer”, and genetic tests, in Lerner’s extensively researched book on the treatment of breast cancer in the twentieth century. His theory is that it is impossible to understand a disease outside its social and cultural context. This is particularly true for breast cancer, as patient activists moulded the physicians’ and the public’s understanding of the disease and acceptance of treatment (years later, AIDS activists would do the same thing). In the beginning, there was Halsted’s radical mastectomy, now replaced with more minor surgery due to the efforts of both scientists and layman. However, 100 years ago, it was the “Halsted” that offered hope where there was

THE LANCET Oncology Vol 3 November 2002

include frequent brushing of teeth (a remedy for dry mouth), gentle exercising (helps counteract nausea), and taking symptom-relieving drugs (mainly for cancer-associated pain). But the book also provides an indication of what you should be feeling, when you should be feeling it, what can be expected to happen in the future, and what you should be worried about—good advice for those with a nervous disposition. The final sections of the book cover a diverse range on additional topics—including alternatives treatments, how to approach consultations with an oncologist, controversial cancer issues, and a guide to information on the internet—all of which are introduced in a readable and friendly manner and make the the book a complete package for patients with cancer. The most appealing aspect of this book is that it gives you the impression that it has the answers. If you feel sick, you look at the nausea section and try out some options. If you have pain, there are strategies for dealing with it. And the ‘workbook’ included at the end enables patients to write down everything connected with their treatment. Even the sexual problems associated with cancer treatment are discussed in frank detail with plain practical solutions. I would definitely recommend this book to any patients or people with friends or relatives who have cancer. Margaret Wall

none and would prove to be the standard with which new forms of treatment would be compared. This would be the beginning of the battle against breast cancer, which still rages today. In the years following World War II, remarkable advances in technology made everything seem conquerable. However, doubts arose when epidemiologists such as John C Bailar III and Bernard Fisher, the “guru” of the randomised controlled trial, showed that the data did not often support what the physicians and patients wanted to believe. Lerner who has a very personal interest in the disease (his mother had breast cancer in 1977), then goes on to discuss how science has recently taken a back seat to public opinion and political pressure in the issues of stem cell transplants for metastatic breast cancer and mammography screening for women in their forties. He provides ample evidence in support of his theory and eloquently describes how sceptics, cancer societies, and, in the words of Henry Blackburn, “the three beauties of biomedical research, the baroque beauty of biology, the modern beauty of the clinic, and the classic beauty of epidemiology”, have contributed to current concepts of the disease. In conclusion, Lerner, an internist, medical historian, and bioethicist at New York’s Columbia University, has succeeded in writing an in-depth yet easily accessible book, which can be appreciated by physicians and patients alike. The breast cancer wars is a monument to many of the challenges and obstacles which have been overcome in the history of modern cancer medicine. Sanjay Pai


For personal use. Only reproduce with permission from The Lancet Publishing Group.