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The surgery of childhood tumors. Edited by Carachi R, Azmy AF, Grosfield JL. (Pp 592, hardback; £175.) London: Arnold, 1999. ISBN 03 40692 693 9
With increasing specialisation, it is getting more and more difficult to remain up to date in every field of paediatrics. This is particularly true in paediatric oncology, with the new understanding of chromosomal abnormalities and their aetiological role in cancer. Added to this, there is the problem of following the various protocols of all the multicentre trials being conducted in paediatric oncology. This requires an IQ of at least 160 and a degree in obsessionalism, both of which are lacking in most paediatric surgeons. The paediatric surgeon's main hope is to regularly attend the SIOP Congress, as it circumnavigates the exotic conference centres of the world. Failing that, this book is a useful and cheaper way of updating one's basic knowledge of surgical oncology. It is a concise book covering most aspects of interest to the paediatric surgeon, a bit brief in places, but generally informative. It starts with a useful précis of the genetic background to tumourigenesis and moves on to individual tumours, both common and rare. What it lacks in great detail it makes up for in readability.
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