Cutaneous Malignancies: A Surgical Perspective

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Review by PJ Bradley
Nottingham, UK

The preface emphasises the need for a multidisciplinary team approach in the treatment of patients with skin cancer and states that surgery is now only one of the possible options. This is because, recently, there have been developments in non-surgical therapies for patients, which may have an effect on current decision making. These developments include immunosuppressive therapy for transplantation and rheumatological diseases, and an increasing number of lesser-known and rarer cutaneous malignancies. This book acts as a reference-based publication on the newest standards of care in the management of cutaneous malignancies.

The editor, Dr Gastman, is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Melanoma Program and Associate Professor of Surgery. He is a double-boarded plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist, and works as a specialist complex reconstructive surgeon and member of the surgical team involved in craniomaxillofacial, skeletal and facial plastic surgery. He is also a member of the facial transplant team. He has recruited 32 American-based contributors from a wide spectrum of disciplines, including plastic surgery, otolaryngology, general surgery, dermatology, pathology and radiation oncology.

The volume comprises 12 chapters, with a comprehensive index. Each chapter is presented in a structured format with an introduction, followed by detailed presentation and discussion under separate headings, all supported by an extensive list of published references. There is also information regarding relevant US websites, where applicable. The references are comprehensive and, while some may be considered historical, they are relevant to the topic, with many dated as recently as 2014/2015.

The chapters on ‘Prevention of future skin cancer’ and ‘Clinical detection of skin cancer’ are excellent, well-structured, easy to read and full of information. The chapters on ‘The role of radiotherapy in the treatment of skin malignancy’ and ‘Operative lymphadenectomy’ appeared too detailed for the non-medical specialist, but maybe this amount of information is considered necessary or desirable for the American patient population! For the chapter entitled ‘Operative lymphadenectomy’, one wonders how else one would perform a lymphadenectomy other than by performing an operation? There are four videos available at ebookstore.thieme.com, all demonstrating surgical techniques for the excision of lymph node groupings and flap reconstruction of facial defects.

This is a delightful book and covers the 20 years that Dr Gasman has worked with cutaneous malignancies. The book is modern, up-to-date, well-illustrated and referenced, and should be available to all who work in the field of cutaneous malignancies, as an example of what can and should be on offer for patients referred for treatment. This book should be purchased by surgical residents who are exposed to cutaneous malignancies, as their primer early in their career, and consulted frequently. On this, they can build their future knowledge and expertise; it is good reading and value for money!

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