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Lee L, Stickland V, Wilson R, Evans A: Fundamentals of Mammography, 2nd edition. London, Churchill Livingstone

2003. 176pp. ISBN 0 443 071144

Fundamentals of Mammography is a book designed essentially for radiographers specialising in mammography or having the occasional need to take mammograms and take part in breast diagnosis. For both these purposes it is excellent; it covers all the needs of the various techniques, with background knowledge in sufficient depth to make the activities meaningful to someone with little previous knowledge. Any questions that may arise in a busy clinic will be answered here. The glossary is useful and appendices give procedural flow charts for the common conditions that will be encountered.

This book is good bread and butter material, but carries little that is in any way innovative. It does its business thoroughly and without undue flourish. The chapters are supported by references that cover the material well and to a suitable depth to match the level of the book.

The text is extensively illustrated by photographs of radiographers taking mammograms and drawings of other techniques being positioned and set up on the mammography machine. The chapter that describes the Perfect, Good, Moderate, and Inadequate (PGMI) categories illustrates the text and the features of the techniques that should be attended to by a radiographer well, and the information in this important chapter is easily assimilated. Similarly, there is a good description of quality assurance procedures that would be sufficient to guide a radiographer on her first unsupervised quality check. There are also good descriptions of how to image implants and the male breast.

The section on holistic care of the patient and psychological aspects of breast imaging are to be commended, and characterise the patient-centred approach of this chiefly technical book.

The book of course has some minor flaws. It was not long before some typographical errors popped into view. On page 161, the black and white stars may have been confused. On page 158, the protocol seems to allow for a mass diagnosed by ultrasound without recommending biopsy – our unit would regard that as risky. There are no protocols for the common symptoms of lumpiness and breast pain, problems too common in the clinics. On page 129 the authors shed doubt on the relationship between mammographic density and risk. They should check the literature beyond radiology in 2004 to find just how far wrong this opinion is.

This book is of a size that would make the pocket bulge, but would not get in the way on the bench top – it is compact for its content. Its price of £35.99 seemed to me to be high for a book destined to sell widely in the breast departments of the English-speaking world, however, it is strongly recommended for its essential purpose of a handbook for mammographers.

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Correspondence to Ruth Warren.

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Warren, R. Lee L, Stickland V, Wilson R, Evans A: Fundamentals of Mammography, 2nd edition. London, Churchill Livingstone. Breast Cancer Res 6, 225 (2004).

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