This new textbook addresses an interesting topic, that is, “complex” surgical oncology. This term, a relatively new one in the lexicon of cancer management, refers to those complicated procedures that tend to be centralized and performed by experienced surgeons. However, there is much more here than complex procedures.
The book is in an interesting format. The section editors are a “who's who” of the surgical oncological lead-ership. The editors have gathered together a collection of international and national authors, all part of the emerging leadership in surgical oncology—a most enlightened approach. Many of the authors are young, actively involved, and part of the development of a new cadre of surgeons focused on oncology. There is, however, a smattering of seniors who have not yet reached their “use by date.” All of these provide a comprehensive text.
Somewhat politically correct, the book avoids the concern that, as the majority of cancer surgery is per-formed in the United States by general surgeons, no attempt is made to confuse the issue of just what constitutes a complex cancer operation that should be done by a surgical oncologist. The text, 165 chapters, addresses much more than the principles of complex surgical oncology. The chapters include what might be considered standard procedures, particularly in breast and colon, readily performed by well-trained surgeons. It does provide for all surgeons the indications, roles, and efficacy of adjuvant therapy, both pre- and post-operatively.
As always, trying to be all things to all people provides certain challenges. Many of the chapters adhere to conventional approaches without prediction but are well balanced. There is enough to generate controversy, always a good thing. In this writer's opinion the willingness to address over diagnosis, over investigation, and over treatment is a welcome emergence, albeit hesitatingly. In an age where much of oncologic management is defined and provided by online access, this text will provide a comprehensive source readily searchable for individual topics.
Sir Professor Murray F. Brennan, GNZM, MD, FACS
Benno C. Schmidt Chair in Clinical Oncology
Vice President for International Programs
Director, Bobst International Center
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York