Volume 52, Issue 3, March 2023

Book reviews

Stephen A Margolis   
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Your guide to prostate cancer – the disease, treatment options and outcomes (4th edition)
Author: Prem Rashid
Port Macquarie, NSW: Uronorth Group, 2021
Paperback ISBN 9780646840918

An insider’s perspective of prostate cancer: Understanding effects, management options and consequences
Author: Robert Alexander (‘Frank’) Gardiner
London: Elsevier, 2023
ISBN 9780443187094

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia, with over 24,000 newly diagnosed cases per year.1 Much has changed over the past few years across all aspects of prostate cancer care, from screening, through early diagnosis to late-stage disease management. Plus, our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of cancer has grown exponentially. With this heightened pace of change, both clinicians and their patients are struggling to keep up to date.

A key challenge for clinicians is negotiating the paradigm shift of prostate cancer moving from a disease of old men who died with, rather than of, prostate cancer, to the current reality where early diagnosis in younger men and targeted therapy is leading to a five-year survival rate of 96%.1

Fortunately, distinguished participants in the development of our understanding and delivery of patient care share their insights through two recent Australian publications. Both explore the latest information, albeit through a different lens and style of discourse. Professor Gardiner writes in technical language directed at the clinician and those with a reasonable understanding of medical science, while Associate Professor Rashid writes in easier to read plain language interspersed with colour graphics, ensuring that most patients and their families would be readily able to engage with the text.

The focus for each is on the processes once a diagnosis is made. Rather than being prescriptive, the discussions are agnostic about the pathway for an individual patient, aiming to assist in informed decision making. Earlier chapters explore prostate anatomy and physiology plus the latest understanding of cancer pathophysiology.

Associate Professor Rashid also provides basic information on healthy living, with an interesting section on primary prevention diet and lifestyle, although, as described, the evidence is somewhat inconclusive.

Prostate cancer, like all chronic diseases, requires informed engagement of the patient and their family to ensure optimal outcomes, both physical and psychological. To achieve this, patients and their advocates need to be informed with the latest evidence-based material. Although some of this will come from their own resources, their general practitioner continues to be a critical provider. By reading both texts side by side, I updated my knowledge and understanding of the evidence-based diagnostic and therapeutic pathways. In addition, reading a ‘plain language’ text enabled a greater understanding of the discourse that might best present this information to the patient and their family in the consultation room.

I found reading both texts side by side quite enjoyable and interesting, noting the different voices used for a common outcome. Not surprisingly, the scientific content is essentially the same, especially as Professor Gardiner is noted as one of the panels of external reviewers of Associate Professor Rashid’s work.

In summary, each of these excellent texts provide interesting, accurate and informative updates of evidence-based practice in this rapidly changing field. Your personal learning style might lean you to either technical or plain language texts, but reading both might be the most enjoyable!

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  1. Australian Government, Cancer Australia. Prostate cancer in Australia statistics. Strawberry Hills, NSW: Cancer Australia, 2022. Available at [Accessed 25 January 2023]. Search PubMed

Book reviewMedical educationVocational training

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