1. Sendelbach, Sue PhD, RN, CCNS, Column Editor
  2. Rhodes, Mattie L. PhD, RN, CNS
  3. Craft, Melissa RN, MS, AOCN

Article Content

Site-Specific Cancer Series: Head and Neck Cancer

By Linda Clarke and Mary Jo Dropkin. 129 pages. Pittsburg, Pa; 2006. $ 49.00, ISBN 1-890505-55-6.


This book is a resource for healthcare professionals on the care of clients with head and neck cancers. The editors are experts in the area of self-care research (M.J. Dropkin) and innovative head and neck cancer care (L. Clarke). The book consists of a team of clinical expert contributors from around the country addressing contemporary care issues.


The content of the book is organized quite well, spanning from an overview, definitions, and vital statistics to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. I like that there is a chapter relating to prevention and early detection, which includes a discussion on risk factors for the various types of head and neck tumors. Diet, cancer screening, and chemoprevention agents are discussed. There is a good chapter on aspects of patient assessment and comprehensive health histories and diagnostic evaluations, tumor staging, family counseling, and possible treatment modalities. The graphics, illustrations, and figures are informative and help to clarify content.


The chapter on surgical management is a really helpful chapter on surgical management of head and neck malignancies, as well as addressing the functional and cosmetics outcomes of various procedures. In addition, the material presented on chemotherapy, which covers various medications and nursing considerations, including management, is very informative. The chapter on postoperative management is good, useful, and well done. Finally, there is an informative chapter on postoperative management of head-and-neck surgical patients.


There is much new information included in this book. For example, the chapter on "Survivorship" focuses on how the healthcare provider can care for the survivors. It provides an introduction to the concept and resulting care of end-of-life. The role of the nurse around palliative care and end-of life decisions is dealt with very professionally and informs the reader as to how to best manage these difficult issues. The chapter that addresses "Nursing Research Issues" within the last 25 years discusses present nursing research findings, and future directions are presented in an effective manner and are well done.


Some of the references throughout the book are over 10 years old. I would look at those and assess whether they are as current as needed, depending on classical or historical relevance. The book, however, does have significant current references. The book is well organized and well written. The book can be used as a good resource for faculty. It can easily be used for graduate CNS and NP students and also RNs in the clinical setting. A final recommendation would be that the authors should have included any sociocultural variables where applicable. As a reader, I would have liked to have seen more of that.


Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice. 2nd ed

Edited by Martha Polovich, Julie White, and Linda Kelleher. 240 pages. Pittsburgh: Oncology Nursing Society; 2005. $75. ISBN 1-890504-53-X.


The Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice (second edition) is presented in an easy-to-read outline form with updated and evidenced-based recommendations for practice. Multiple tables and figures present information that is easy to find and useful for all clinicians who take care of patients with cancer. Although the title suggests that the reader might be involved in administering chemotherapy and/or biological agents for cancer, this book would be an excellent reference guide for any nurse taking care of oncology patients.


The purpose of this book is to provide an update of the widely successful first edition. This second edition is revised to provide evidence-based recommendations for patients receiving chemotherapy and biological therapy for cancer. Sections include principles of chemotherapy and biotherapy, cancer therapy goals and response, fundamentals of administration, pretreatment, treatment, care of the patient receiving cancer therapy, and side effects of cancer therapy. A discussion of central lines is also included, as well as a review of the late effects of cancer therapy. The content is well organized in outline format, with multiple tables and figures. The tables and figures are superb, including comprehensive tables of chemotherapy and biological agents with administration recommendations, indications for use, expected side effects, and interventions. The tables make this book a must-have for all oncology units caring for patients receiving chemotherapy and biologicals. The references are up-to-date, and tables include investigational agents that are used in clinical trials today.


The authors have incorporated pathophysiology in every section, thus presenting a concise explanation of the "why" behind treatments and interventions. This format encourages critical thinking and higher level processing for nurses at all experience levels in oncology. In addition to being a great resource for oncology units, this book would be helpful for any med/surg nursing unit. Compared with the first edition, this edition is revised with updated references, tables, and survivorship issues. Among other books on chemotherapy and biological agents, the tables and figures in this book make it an excellent first choice. This book is geared to any nurse caring for oncology patients but would be particularly useful to the practicing clinical nurse specialist and other advanced practice nurses for both patient care and nursing education. Graduate students would also find benefit in this book, particularly with the incorporation of pathophysiology and evidence-based information for each section. The reader could use this book in clinical care and education, particularly new oncology nurses. This book is also helpful for writing and reviewing policies, procedures, and standards of care for the oncology patient receiving chemotherapy and biotherapy.