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Oxford Handbook of Cancer Nursing

Wednesday, 06 December 2023

7 Day Health Service
A great ideal
Can the Government make it work?

Editors: Mike Tadman, Dave Roberts

This is a timely publication given that treatment for cancer is steadily advancing, with an increase in the number of people surviving cancer and treatment regimes frequently becoming more complex.  These advances present new challenges for nurses in the management of complex treatment-related symptoms, as well as supporting patients and their families with both difficult treatment choices and longer-term survivorship issues.

This book is essentially a handy, pocket-size guide for nurses, or other healthcare professionals, providing care for people with cancer along the cancer journey.

The introductory section of the book provides a helpful outline on the essences of cancer care practice within the current UK Government healthcare policy.  This highlights the realistic pressures that nursing workforces embrace today, outlining some of the evolving roles for nurses as they manage patients with cancer. 

This book provides an evidence-based and practical approach to a broad spectrum of issues relating to cancer nursing.  For example, it addresses treatment-related issues, cancer prevention and screening, as well as covering issues related to end-of-life care.  This book also provides the reader with some information on clinical trials and nurses’ responsibilities in this area of practice. 

I was pleased to find a section on ‘The personal experience of cancer’, which was couched with transcripts from patients.  This book outlined the many advantages but also the limitations of such material.  Furthermore, this text clearly acknowledged that the person with a cancer diagnosis should not be viewed in isolation but within a social context, with potential changes in roles within the family.  Other social challenges are identified, such as reduced finances and an awareness of the need for young children to be supported when a parent has cancer.

Beyond the pertinent physiological and social aspects of cancer, the book included a solid psychological focus for managing a patient with cancer.   With the increased recognition that cancer fits under the umbrella term of ‘chronic illness’, there was a necessary section on ‘rehabilitation of the cancer patient’, albeit a short section, which highlighted the need for ongoing support with multi-professional input.

A fairly comprehensive list of major cancers were discussed in this book, but given that the text is a handbook, it merely provides an overview of the key aspects related to presentation, prognosis and treatment of each cancer.  As a result the treatments tended to focus on symptom-based management, therefore viewed from an illness perspective. Nevertheless, it covers a wide range of practice-based situations that nurses’ caring for patients with cancer may encounter.

This book should be viewed as a means of providing quick reference material applicable to nurses caring for patients with cancer in the UK, with helpful and mainly up-to-date references for additional reading.  The referenced material and linked resources are predominately UK based and therefore limits it usefulness to an international audience.


ISBN-10: 0198569244
ISBN-13: 978-0198569244


Oxford University Press; 1st edition (29 March 2007)


677 pages


Dr Cherith Semple
Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist – Head and Neck Cancer

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