Editors: Hisham M. Mehanna and K. Kian Ang
: Thieme – 304 pages
Book Review by
: Nano Khilnani

Statistics from the American Cancer Society are sobering: at the beginning of 2012, some 13.7 million people in the United States were found to have cancer. And in 2013, 1,660,290 new cases of cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed, bringing the total number to 15,360,290.

In their publication Cancer Facts and Figures 2013 that organization stated that a staggering 580,650 people are expected to die of cancer that year. This is a terrible statistic, but it also shows the good news that 14,779,640 or more than 96 percent continued to survive.

Cancer then, is curable. But more important, it is preventable, especially certain types of it such as lung cancer. Yet, in the U.S. some 174,000 people died of lung cancer in 2013.  This said outcome could have been changed. Alcohol abuse is another cause of cancer that is preventable. And lifestyle changes by those who are obese, physically inactive, or have poor nutrition can help them as well, avoid cancer.

An astonishing half of all patients treated for head and neck cancers – through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other means – get a recurrence, Drs. Hisham Mehanna and Kian Ang state in their Introduction to this book.

This book presents the how, who, what, where, and why of this problem. The graphics may look gory, but nothing speaks better than pictures. The editors probably could have limited the graphic presentation to radiographs and sketches, but I believe they made the right decision to just show it like it is.

Fifty-five experts working in various oncology subspecialties – cellular, clinical, medical, and radiation oncology – contributed material used in this valuable book. Other experts – in the fields of otolaryngology, palliative medicine, pulmonary medicine and tuberculosis, radiation, and other areas, also wrote the 21 chapters of this volume, itemized below to give you a bird’s eye view of its contents.

These contributors are from the United States and Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, and United Kingdom.

You will find information on the following topics in this book:

  1. Introduction (biopsy, clinical assessment, history and examination, imaging, etc.)
  2. Molecular Biology of Recurrence
  3. Imaging Modalities for Head and Neck Cancer Recurrence
  4. Concurrent Chemotherapy and Re-irradiation for Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer
  5. Systemic Therapy in the Treatment of Recurrent and Metastatic Head and Neck Carcinoma
  6. Principles and Concepts of Reconstruction in the Recurrent Setting
  7. Patient Selection for Treatment
  8. Recurrent Laryngeal Cancer
  9. Management of Recurrent Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  10. Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity
  11. Carcinoma of the Oropharynx
  12. Management of Nodal Recurrence
  13. Carcinoma of the Nasopharynx
  14. Skull Base and Sinonasal Cancer
  15. Recurrent Differentiated Thyroid Cancer
  16. Recurrent Salivary Gland Carcinoma and Pleomorphic Adenoma
  17. Recurrent Melanotic and Nonmelanotic Skin Cancer
  18. Prognosis of Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer
  19. Rehabilitation after Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer
  20. Psychosocial Aspects of Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer
  21. Palliative and Psychosocial Issues in Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

Content organization in the chapters is very effective. It enables you to:

  • Get the gist of chapter coverage quickly in the Summary box at the beginning
  • Get an overview of the main issues relating to the chapter title by reading the Introduction that follows next
  • Browse and read (or skip) the paragraphs on the main topics of the chapter presented
  • Look at the visuals – charts, figures, tables – to quickly get more information on the topics taken up in the chapter
  • Learn the Conclusions made by the authors towards the chapter end
  • Read about what is still being looked into closely in the Future Research box
  • Look at the list of books the author suggests you read  in Recommended Reading 
  • Go through the list of References at chapter end to find more information sources

All in all, a great book on its subject.

Hisham M. Mehanna, PhD, BMedSc. (Hons), FRCS, FRCS (ORL-HNS) is Director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education; Consultant Head and Neck and Thyroid Surgeon; and Chairman of the Head and Neck Surgery in the School of Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

K. Kian Ang, MD, PhD, FACR, FASTRO is Professor and Holder of the Gilbert H. Fletcher Memorial Distinguished Chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.