An extensive reference work, Textbook of Melanoma presents the latest information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of this increasingly common type of cancer. It distinguishes itself by its scholarship, its comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the disease, its accessibility, and especially its focus. The breadth and depth of the coverage is reflected by the wide range of international authors, all experts in their respective fields, profiling everything from prevention strategies to gene therapy. The result is a comprehensive review of current knowledge, a guide to what is currently regarded as best clinical practice, and a preview of future developments.
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Malignant melanoma is an increasingly important public health problem. Despite the fact that the cause of most melanomas -- excessive exposure to ultraviolet light -- is known, the incidence of this tumor is rising faster than the incidence of any other cancer in the United States. At current rates, there will be more than 90,000 cases of melanoma this year, and the lifetime risk of this disease in a person living in the continental United States is now 1 in 37. Even more important is that one person dies of this cancer every hour in this country. In addition, the range of possible presentations has broadened, and melanomas are being seen not only by oncologists, but also by other specialists and by generalists. For all of these reasons, there is a need for an up-to-date, wide-ranging reference book on melanoma. Thompson, Morton, and Kroon have met this need by assembling a broad-based, world-renowned group of authors who comprehensively cover the spectrum of issues related to melanoma in this excellent textbook. The text is presented in a format that is easily readable. There are multiple tables and graphs that present data in a manner that facilitates understanding. Several features make this book stand apart from others in this area. Information is presented in 14 logically divided sections. The book begins with a chapter on the history of melanoma that puts the subject in unique perspective. Beyond the discussion of traditional therapies, an extensive review of experimental approaches to treatment is provided. The chapter on management guidelines is particularly helpful. The chapters on site-specific melanoma serve as a useful reference. No textbook is perfect, and this one also has some deficiencies. There are not as many clinical photographs as might be desired, and the colors in some of the images are off. Some chapters are very short, and a number of the references are out of date. A flow chart on the diagnosis and management of melanoma would have been helpful to tie together the concepts presented and thereby facilitate patient care. The international perspective of the book is generally positive, but some of the topics (e.g., prevention) leave out a U.S. viewpoint. Finally, it would be helpful if the book were accompanied by a compact disk of the images, which could be used for teaching. Notwithstanding these limitations, I rate this book as outstanding. As an "expert" in melanoma, I have been able to learn new facts and clinical information from this book that will improve my care of patients. Readers with less knowledge who need to learn more about melanoma to enhance the care of their patients with the disease will also benefit from this book. For all of these reasons, I recommend the Textbook of Melanoma to those with an interest in this cancer. Darrell S. Rigel, M.D.
Copyright © 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS.
"this is a sentinel book. It provides a robust analysis of the current concepts surrounding melanoma based on the literature and is an ideal reference text. It should be in the collection of all units with an interest in melanoma and will interest all specialist doctors whose practice encompasses this disease." --New Zealand Dermatological Society Promo Copy
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