Cover image for The cancer dictionary
The cancer dictionary
Altman, Roberta.
Personal Author:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, Inc, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 387 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC262 .A39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
RC262 .A39 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

On Order



Coauthored by a former cancer patient and the Associate Chief Oncologist at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York

Author Notes

Roberta Altman worked for the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Michael J. Sarg, M.D., is associate chief of medical oncology at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York City, and a member of the teaching faculty of the St. Vincent's Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as associate professor of clinical medicine, New York Medical College.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

There have been many advances in molecular biology and technology since the first edition of The Cancer Dictionary appeared in 1992. Basic research in these fields has produced new drugs, treatments, and strategies for cancer therapy. This revision of the dictionary contains more than 2,500 alphabetical entries. The entries cover all aspects of cancer diagnosis and treatment: types of cancer (Hodgkin's disease, Small cell lung cancer), diagnostic tests (Esophagoscopy, Needle aspiration biopsy), drugs (Navelbine, Vincristine), surgical procedures (Total abdominal hysterectomy, Transurethral resection), other treatments (Particle beam therapy, Intraperitoneal radiotherapy), risk factors (Breast cancer genes, Smoking), alternative therapies and unconventional treatments (Imagery, Laetrile), preventive measures (Mammogram, Pap smear), and side effects (Nausea and vomiting, Pruritus). Entries range in length from one sentence to several paragraphs, and some have black-and-white drawings. Cross-references appear as small capitals within the text. Several appendixes contain referral lists of organizations and cancer treatment centers with toll-free telephone numbers, e-mail, and Web addresses if these are available. A bibliography (with many older references) and a subject index complete the work. The Cancer Dictionary is useful for brief definitions of terms and ready-reference questions, but those in need of more detailed information about specific cancers or treatments should consult other resources, such as Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy: How Cancer Is Diagnosed, Treated, and Managed Day to Day (3d ed., Andrews and McMeel, 1998).

Library Journal Review

With an additional 34 pages, Altman and Sarg (the former a cancer survivor and writer and the latter associate chief of medical oncology at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York) have not greatly expanded beyond the "over 2500" definitions found in the first edition of The Cancer Dictionary (LJ 10/1/92). In addition to the customary definitions, which also include those relating to AIDS and to noncancerous tumors, various types of radiation therapy, surgical procedures, carcinogens, and chemotherapeutic drugs (treated as an appendix in the previous edition) are also defined. Notable for their omission are terms such as PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor) and organs like the omentum, to which ovarian cancer can metastasize. Sertoli-lydig tumor retains its misspelling as "sterloi-lydig." However, the new edition does include definitions of new drugs like angiostatin and endostatin and new procedures like proton beam therapy. The appendixes consist of lists of comprehensive cancer centers by state and of national organizations on cancer and AIDS; contact information for these organizations includes URLs and e-mail addresses. Also included is a bibliography, which encompasses both professional and lay literature but which has not been checked for newer editions. Because most of its content can be found in other, standard medical dictionaries, this second edition may be considered an optional purchase but will be useful for public and consumer health libraries whose collections are sparse in this area. (Illustrations not seen.)--Martha Stone, Massachusetts General Hosp. Lib., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A frightening disease, cancer has its own specialized language that can be confusing to nonspecialists. Sarg (medical oncology, St. Vincent's Hospital, New York) and Altman (a journalist and one of his patients; author of The Complete Book of Home Environmental Hazards, 1990, and Every Woman's Handbook for Preventing Cancer, 1996) have revised this easy-to-read work, intended for general readers, from the first edition (longer by 34 pages; CH, May'93), which received generally favorable reviews. Its more than 2,500 terms (about the same as before) cover acronyms and abbreviations, symptoms, drugs and side effects, diagnostic tests, risk factors, prevention methods, and surgical procedures. Many of these terms can be found in standard medical dictionaries. Headwords are printed in boldface, followed by a pronunciation guide. The first three appendixes list national organizations that deal with cancer and AIDS, comprehensive cancer centers, and clinical cancer centers (Web page and e-mail addresses are included); the last appendix is a subject index. The bibliography of popular and professional sources does not seem significantly updated. Included are diagrams and numerous cross- and see references. This work will no doubt be less expensive than Elsevier's Dictionary of Cancer, by M.P. Mayer (forthcoming). The price for the hardback is the same as in 1992. Suitable for the reference collections of medical, public, and academic libraries if they do not already own other works in this field. L. A. Blewett; University of Chicago



Coauthored by a former cancer patient and the Associate Chief Oncologist at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, this A-to-Z resource provides clear and concise information that cancer patients and their families need to intelligently face their fears and concerns. It also guides readers through much of the confusion that surrounds the latest claims and media hype of this enigmatic disease. More than 2,500 definitions detail: Individual cancers, their causes, incidence levels, stages, and treatment Diagnostic tests, symptoms, and surgeries Radiation therapies, side effects, and risk factors Carcinogens Prevention This edition features over 25 new or newly revised illustrations as well as the latest developments on: Treatments such as combination chemotherapy, acupuncture, alternative treatments, biological response modifiers, and bone marrow transplants Therapies and the most up-to-date information on cancer types and sites Pain management and reconstruction/rehabilitation. Extensive and updated appendixes include: National organizations for cancer research and AIDS Comprehensive cancer centers by state Clinical care centers by state Excerpted from The Cancer Dictionary by Roberta Altman, Michael J. Sarg All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Introduction to the Previous Editionp. vii
Introduction to the Revised Editionp. ix
How to Use This Bookp. x
The Cancer Dictionaryp. 1
Appendix I National Organizations for Cancer and AIDSp. 325
Appendix II Comprehensive Cancer Centers by Statep. 334
Appendix III Clinical Cancer Centers by Statep. 338
Appendix IV Subject Indexp. 340
Antiemeticsp. 340
Biological Therapyp. 340
Cancer Sites/Typesp. 341
Carcinogens/Suspected Carcinogensp. 344
Chemotherapy Agentsp. 345
Combination Chemotherapyp. 345
Diagnosis/Evaluationp. 350
Medical Supportp. 353
Pain Managementp. 353
Precancerous Conditionsp. 354
Preventionp. 355
Reconstruction/Rehabilitationp. 355
Risk Factorsp. 355
Side Effectsp. 356
Symptomsp. 357
Treatmentp. 357
Tumor Markerp. 360
Bibliographyp. 361
Indexp. 365