One in three of the population of the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, many of whom become acutely ill and require emergency treatment. Also, patients with undiagnosed cancer can present with oncological emergencies and therefore doctors in specialist oncology units, emergency departments and indeed almost any medical and surgical speciality need to be aware of the specific challenges presented by the acutely ill patient with cancer. This book seeks to provide an easily accessible evidence based guide to the diagnosis and management of acutely ill patients with cancer. The scope of the book is limited to those emergencies directly caused by the cancer or by its treatment and those conditions where there is a strong predisposition caused by the cancer. Many of these emergencies will be familiar to non-oncologists, however others will not. Any delay caused by unfamiliarity can have disastrous results, for example irreversible neurological deficit in unrecognised spinal cord compression.
Not all the emergencies covered in this book require immediate recognition and treatment to prevent potential fatal outcomes, however, all these conditions require urgent action to reduce morbidity and distressing symptoms for patients. The book therefore provides practical guidance on the management of the acute and distressing symptoms that often arise in the ill cancer patient.