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Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer: Clinical, Predictive and Ethical Perspectives. Edited by Foulkes WD, Hodgson SV. (Pp 456; £60.00, US$95.00.) Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0 521 56340 2.
This book is timely given the veritable explosion in the molecular genetics of cancer that has occurred over the past decade. The scope of the book is broad, ranging from genetic counselling in concert with the ethical, legal and social issues that impact upon this discipline to the hereditary basis of many of the rare as well commonly occurring cancers. An exceedingly useful chapter, “Late-breaking Developments”, provides the reader with a thumbnail sketch of advances that occurred from the time that the chapters were submitted and reviewed. This is a most welcomed chapter as it gives the readers a chance to keep abreast of this rapidly emerging discipline. There are 31 contributors, some of whom are highly distinguished scholars.
This book will useful to practicing physicians, genetic counsellors, and other paramedicals who may be involved with the surveillance and management of patients with high familial cancer risk. The chapters are clearly written. It would have been valuable to have had more illustrations, particularly pedigrees. There is probably not enough material presented in this book for specialists, such as gastroenterologists, to use as a primary reference source for cancer genetics in each of these disciplines. On the other hand, this will be an ideal source of clinical genetic material for the generalist. Certainly, this will be a valuable global reference which should be on the shelf of all medical libraries.
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