Title: Perspectives on Cancer Care
Author: Josephine (Tonks) N Fawcett and Anne McQueen
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell 2011
Reviewer: Hilary Jefferies, Previously Gynaecology Oncology CNS
What was it like?
‘Perspectives on Cancer Care’ has been described by its editors as a ‘reader’ and aims to inspire, offer insights, enhance knowledge and encourage best practice in the care of patients with cancer. There are 13 chapters and costs £29.99. Each chapter may be read as a ‘stand alone’ chapter for a specific disease site, for example primary malignant brain tumours and the management of rectal cancer which provides details of the risks, signs and symptoms, primary and secondary treatment. Throughout the book there are useful case studies and mention of websites and additional reading.
What were the highlights?
Both editors are lecturers at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. About half the contributors are in cademia while the remainder work in the health care setting as Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Consultant or Physicians. This book was not written as a comprehensive guide to cancer care, but shares the ‘expert view’ of the contributors with the reader, thus the contents of the book may seem rather arbitrary. For example the chapters on cancer pain and cancer related fatigue are excellent. They are well referenced and evidence-based. Other chapters contain statements that are not supported by evidence from nursing or medical journals. One view is expressed that in the care of a pregnant woman with cancer, the role of the midwife and the palliative care nurse are broadly similar, without reference to the differences in their knowledge and experience of cancer care.
While details of the Calman- Hine report (1995) are provided, the impact on patient care of the NHS Cancer Plan (2000) and the Cancer Reform Strategy (2007) is not included.
Strengths and weaknesses?
A strength of this book is that it includes the role of cancer genetics in the every day health care setting and the responsibilities of the research nurse in clinical trials. Both chapters provide insight into these nurses’ expertise and will be of great interest to nurses attracted to these roles as a career progression. A weakness is that one author states that there is no effective ovarian cancer screening available. Mention could have been given to the clinical trials using the CA 125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound and the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening study.
The lack of information from the patient’s perspective is a disappointing aspect of this book. Qualitative research and in particularphenomenological studies providing greater insights into the experience of having cancer could have been included, as could topics such as cost dilemmas for chemotherapy drugs, sexuality, spirituality and the use of advanced technology in cancer treatment.
Who should read it?
‘Perspectives on Cancer Care’ has been written to support undergraduate and postgraduate nurses. The chapter on the management of cancer pain will be particularly useful for all nurses caring for patients in hospitals and receiving care in the community.