Farjado LF, Berthrong M, Anderson RE. (£120.00.) Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0 19 511023 4
This is an interesting and well presented book, aiming to provide a comprehensive coverage of the varied and ever expanding field of radiation pathology. The three authors are each recognised authorities in their respective fields, and their joint efforts are complemented by an interesting chapter on therapeutic applications by Dr JL Meyer.
The book is, of course, heterogeneous, ranging from diagnostic histopathology to basic aspects of radiation pathobiology and from radiation induced cancerogenesis to the tissue damaging effects of radiation. Nonetheless, the authors have succeeded in providing a reasonably homogeneous whole, where chapters complement each other. A useful glossary precedes the first chapters and illustrations are generally of excellent quality.
There were perhaps a few subjects that might have benefitted from a more in depth discussion. The short term and long term effects on the atomic bomb survivors is discussed with great clarity and authority, but the work on thryroid disease following the Chernobyl disaster, which has yielded a wealth of new data, would have fitted well into one of the chapters on radiation carcinogenesis and on the thryoid gland. Angiosarcoma, which is now a well recognised late sequel to breast conserving treatment, is only mentioned in passing. Diagnostic aspects of recurrent tumour versus radiation induced cellular atypia could have received a rather more extensive discussion and more illustrations, especially in organs where these problems are regularly encountered: breast, prostate, and urinary bladder. Aspects of fine needle aspiration cytology, a technique that commonly serves as the first line invasive diagnostic technique when recurrent tumour in an irradiated tissue is suspected, receives surprisingly little mention; in this respect, the book cannot be used as a bench book in the diagnosis of difficult cases.
Despite these few criticisms, I feel that there is much to recommend this book as a work of substantial interest, providing a good coverage of a wide and heterogeneous field of biological and clinicopathological work.