The popular literature on cancer ranges from hope to despair. There are books that blame, others that offer new cures or personal inspiration. This one, the product of teamwork between two Univ. of Colorado English professors and two cancer specialists at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Los Angeles, runs to the grim. This aspect in reinforced by an overlong and often egregious question-and-answer section on dying. On the positive side, the book does provide information not readily available elsewhere. This appears in a large section describing cancer, organ by organ. You can refer to brain, or skin, or stomach and find a brief description of normal anatomy and function, type of cancer usually occurring, current modes of treatment, survival rates, and whatever epidemiological data is available (including occupational hazards). A general discussion of cancer precedes causes, taking up not only its modes of treatment but also why treatment so often leads to secondary pain and. discomfort. Except for the organ-by-organ section, the question-and-answer format is employed throughout; and even in the organ section, the information can be gratuitous: we are told, for example, that surgery for cancer of the uterus renders the patient infertile. But used primarily for reference as suggested by the title, the book has a useful place.