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Colposcopy: A Practical Guide (2nd edn)
  1. Louise Cadman
  1. Research Nurse Consultant, Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK;l.cadman{at}

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Mahmood Shafi,, Saloney Nazeer. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-107-66782-2. Price: £39.00. Pages: 92 (paperback)

Shafi and Nazeer's second edition of Colposcopy: A Practical Guide is an informative manual not just for colposcopists and trainees but also for gynaecologists, general practitioners, nurses and allied medical professionals with a particular interest in the field of colposcopy and cervical disease. It aims to be relevant to an international as well as a British audience. This international flavour is reflected in the two authors, both of whom are experts in their respected fields. One is based in Cambridge, UK and the second is in Geneva, Switzerland. Inevitably, whilst trying to satisfy such a varied audience, compromises in emphasis are made to make the book relevant to all. This, for example, is illustrated by the section on endocervical curettage, which is a methodology not widely practised in the UK.

This guide has been updated with the latest nomenclature, staging, classification and evidence-based treatment guidelines, as well as new material on human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and vaccination.

The book is very accessible and is not a daunting tome. It is a concise, fast read supplying the information required in a quick and efficient way, with each chapter concluding with useful learning points. Sometimes, however, this approach results in the loss of precision and opens the door to misinterpretation, such as when citing lupus patients as being immunocompromised rather than stating that some individuals may be on immunosuppressant medication.

The book's attractive layout takes into account the visual nature of colposcopy. The colour images, flow charts and diagrams not only complement the text but augment it and are therefore not provided merely for ornamentation. The book is comprehensive in its subject matter and it is understandable that it is included on the list of recommended reading for the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology training programme. Its constituent chapters range from those covering colposcopy, the natural history of cervical carcinoma and HPV, management techniques, vaginal and vulval abnormalities to the genital tract in pregnancy, in the menopause and with HIV. The book would, however, be enhanced by being pocket sized as it is a useful, quick reference book, which I would like to have ‘to hand’.

I would certainly recommend this book as it achieves a good balance between the science and clinical care element of colposcopy in a concise and easily readable form.