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The Cancer Dictionary: Revised Edition

John Han-Chih Chang, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

The Cancer Dictionary Authors: Roberta Altman and Michael J. Sarg, MD
Publisher: Checkmark Books, New York, 2000 (First Edition 1992)
ISBN: 0-8160-3953-4 (hardcover) or 0-8160-3954-2 (paperback)

OncoLink Rating: 2 Stars

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Journalist Altman is a cancer survivor who worked for the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service. Doctor Sarg is associate chief of medical oncology at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City, and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York Medical College. They wrote this dictionary, defining more than 2,500 terms related to cancer in an easy-to-read style such that any layperson could understand. As the authors put it ,

The dictionary covers an enormous range of terms, such as the different cancers, tests, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, side effects, risk factors, prevention, and many more. The definitions often provide interesting information as well, such as the history behind a discovery, or interesting statistics. The book also does an excellent job of supplementing a definition with diagrams and illustrations. It concludes with four appendices, which include valuable information on national cancer organizations and cancer centers.

This dictionary provides a basis of knowledge that serves to orient the reader through a myriad of cancer information. A familiarity with these definitions will enhance a person's ability to discuss their health care with their physician, and thus enable them to make informed decisions about their treatment.