Carl Pochedly CANCER IN CHILDHOOD: REASONS FOR HOPE Port Washington, N. Y.: Ashley Books, 1979, 151 pp., $8.95.
C ancer in Childhood: Reasons for Hope is a very informative book that should be helpful to parents, pediatricians, and paramedical personnel who care for children with cancer. Dr. Pochedly describes several of the most common forms of childhood cancer in terms that are easily understood.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Wilms' tumor, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, bone tumors, and lymphomas are all considered; Dr. Pochedly presents an illustrative case for each, including a description of the specific therapy given. The usual diagnostic tests and general treatment modalities for each type of cancer are described and often illustrated) in terms that a parent can easily understand.
While the examples given are useful, the author emphasizes that many individual factors determine response to treatment and outcome. Treatment regimens often vary considerably from one children 's cancer center to the next, however, and so giving such specific details of treatment in the examples may worry some families whose children are not receiving the treatment described.
While Dr. Pochedly describes the medical achievements that have dramatically increased survival rates, especially in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and Wilms' tumor, he spends much less time on the real physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns of patients and families as they live with the reality of cancer. If the book has a fault, it is that it skims over the difficulties that these children and their families often have. To Dr. Pochedly the phrase "Reasons for Hope" refers to scientific advancements. While the latter are unquestionably very important, perhaps the book does not stress enough the emotional and spiritual aspects of dealing with childhood cancer. The significant role of the nurse is well described; however, the roles of other invaluable members of the oncology team, including social worker and chaplain, are barely mentioned. This is no doubt because Dr. Pochedly writes from his own experience, in which the social worker and the chaplain have perhaps not played as vital a role as they do at our center.
Overall, this is a very good book that is informative, interesting to read, and relatively easy to comprehend.