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USC physicians prominently featured in new surgical oncology text

by Chrissie Castro

Dozens of USC physicians are featured in a publication that just hit bookstores nationwide: Surgical Oncology: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Difficult Problems, by Howard Silberman, professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine.

The book marks an unusual attempt to include current information, including supplemental journal abstracts and a Web site.

Silberman collaborated with his brother, Allan Silberman, clinical chief of surgical oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“We included contributors from all over the country, but there are more USC contributors than from any other school—and that makes it a very USC book,” Silberman said.

As a guide for the management of solid tumors, the book highlights controversial issues in clinical judgement.

It also tackles the efficacy of techniques such as neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy for various tumors, gene therapy, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation and other non-surgical therapies.

“Cancer treatment has traditionally been surgical,” Silberman said, “but because the cure rate has not approached 100 percent, in recent years there has been a trend toward combination therapies which promise higher cure rates—the focus of this publication.”

Other topics discussed include: laparoscopy, sentinel node analysis, organ transplantation, prevention by genetic analysis, molecular biology, diagnosis and significance of micrometastases, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and preoperative and postoperative chemotherapy.

After each of the book’s chapters, another author writes a follow-up commentary. One chapter, “Ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast,” was written by USC/Norris Lee Breast Center physicians Melvin J. Silverstein, Kristen A. Skinner, and James R. Waisman.

The authors explain that until 1980, treatment for most patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast (DCIS) was mastectomy, yet currently, data suggest that most patients with DCIS can be treated with breast preservation, with or without radiation therapy. The chapter discusses how available data can help physicians in the complex treatment-selection process.

In addition to the resources offered in each chapter section, the book has a companion Web site.

The site allows readers to contribute their commentaries and critiques to be posted and shared among colleagues.

“I don’t know that any book has been organized in this particular way,” Silberman said. “We are striving to keep a very interactive and up-to-the-minute resource on multi-disciplinary cancer care.”

The book may be purchased at the USC Health Sciences Campus Bookstore, or at

USC physicians prominently featured in new surgical oncology text

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