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Science’s STKE Associate Editor Adler Wins Award for Book on Lymphoma
Elizabeth Adler, associate editor of Science’s STKE, has won the prestigious 2006 American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award in the Trade category for her book Living with Lymphoma: A Patient’s Guide. Adler will accept her award, funded by the Dr. MaryAnn Foote Foundation, during the association’s 66th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. on 27 October 2006.
Living with Lymphoma: A Patient’s Guide [Johns Hopkins University Press; 2005; $19.95] is a comprehensive resource for people whose lives have been affected by lymphoma. Whether it is a patient, parent, friend or colleague, Adler’s book provides information about coping with the physical and emotional challenges for a general audience along with detailed sections in response to the most frequently asked questions.
The book “is a stand-alone text for lymphoma patients,” wrote Dr. Michael R. Bishop in the introduction. Bishop, an oncologist at the National Cancer Institute, urged people affected by lymphoma to “keep [the book] at your side with all the questions you have … Knowledge is power.”
Adler was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1996 while an assistant professor of biology at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Soon after her diagnosis, she became convinced that there was a great need for an informative, accessible guide for coping with lymphoma.
“The lymphomas are a complex and confusing group of diseases. For people without a background in biology or medicine, reading the primary medical literature can be daunting,” Adler said. “I wanted to provide both accessible information on the lymphomas and their therapy and an entree into the medical literature for people who wanted and needed more information about their disease. It’s hard enough dealing with cancer without having to tackle a dense and impenetrable literature.”
Lymphomas, including Hodgkin lymphoma and the non-Hodgkin lymphomas, are cancers that derive from lymphocytes—cells that are part of the body’s immune system—and account for about 5 percent of all cancers according to the National Cancer Institute.
Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for less than 1 percent of all cancers, is a particular form of lymphoma characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells.
With a 25-year increase in spending leading to an estimated $118.4 million spent on lymphoma research in fiscal year 2005 along with newer, more powerful treatments, the mortality rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma apparently began to decline in the 1990s. In addition, the 1990’s saw the Hodgkin lymphoma mortality rate reach an all-time low.
To be considered for the AMWA Trade category, the submission must be written to inform a general audience on an emerging medical issue. Books are evaluated for their content, scientific accuracy, clarity and illustrations, among other factors by AWMA members and outside experts.
Adler’s book has been embraced by several cancer and lymphoma organizations, and is often featured on their websites.
Anne Atkinson, a non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Hodgkin disease survivor who is actively involved in issues of cancer and lymphoma in Australia, said Adler’s academic and personal experiences make her uniquely qualified to advise others affected by the disease.
“Adler’s academic background and experience of lymphoma offer a unique perspective which allows her to understand just what people diagnosed with lymphoma need to know in order to cope with this quite complex disease,” Atkinson said. “Further, her teaching background enables her to effectively communicate this complex information in a way that is clear, concise and comforting.”
Adler joined Science’s STKE in 2002 after serving on the faculty at Williams College in Massachusetts. Adler received a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Pennsylvania (1986) and two post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto (1987-1989) and Harvard University (1990-1993).
Founded in 1940, the AMWA is a non-profit devoted to elevating medical writing by connecting writers traditionally separated by geography and specialties. It has more than 5,300 members including writers, researchers, administrators, educators and editors from around the world.
1 September 2006