Michael Richards and Sean Duffy, who lead the development of cancer care in the UK, have drawn attention to the importance of acute oncology in providing high-quality cancer care for our patients. We have prepared this book in the format of the Problem Solving series in order to present the issues surrounding the development of acute oncology services, both in the UK and internationally, in a patient-centred format. We have illustrated most of the problems that will present to an oncologist who is part of the acute oncology services. These cover the perspective of service development, but also many aspects of acute general medical and acute oncological care that will arise, this includes the care of patients with cancer of unknown primary site, the major complications of systemic therapy (especially febrile neutropenia), the complications of radiotherapy, the major acute complications of cancer itself and some considerations of patients in clinical trials presenting acutely. Palliative care and pain control can be critically important challenges to oncology services, and key aspects of these are set out in the context of patient related-problems.
Our purpose is to provide a highly patient-centred, readable text, that will support acute oncologists both in training and in practice. We hope that it will provide a valuable resource for all acute oncology services to those who are charged with developing acute oncology services in the future across the world, and be helpful for the individual oncologist, whether in training or established as consultants and staff physicians. Acute oncology has been developing rapidly, bringing improvements in services and benefits to patients. We hope this book will help this process and add to its momentum.
Ernie Marshall, Alison Young, Peter Clark and Peter Selby