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November 1985

Critical Care of the Cancer Patient

Author Affiliations



edited by William Howland and Graziano C. Carlson, 370 pp, $39.95, Chicago, Year Book Medical Publishers Inc, 1985.

Arch Surg. 1985;120(11):1324-1325. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390350100025

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The publisher of this book heralds it as "the only comprehensive book available on the critical care of the cancer patient." Readers must proceed with caution, however. While supposedly aimed at any physician taking care of a patient with cancer, the presentation actually seems directed at intensive care unit specialists who lack a strong background in either oncology or general internal medicine.

A comprehensive book by multiple authors demands stern editing. Unfortunately, the material presented suffers from a wide variation in detail and quality. The authors represent the traditional oncologic subspecialties at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Chapters usually respect the conventional territoriality of the various organ systems. Only one author dared (for a single page) to consider the moral dilemmas sometimes raised by the treatment of patients who are critically ill with cancer. Psychological crises are not discussed either, raising the question of how "comprehensive" is defined.


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