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Volume 18, Number 6, 2013

Undergraduate cancer education in Spain: The debate, the opportunities and the initiatives of the University Forum of the Spanish Society of Radiation Oncology (SEOR)

Pedro Lara, Felipe A. Calvo, Ferran Guedea, Pedro Bilbao, Alberto Biete

Summary:

Most medical schools in Spain (80%) offer undergraduate training in oncology. This education is highly variable in terms of content (theory and practical training), number of credits, and the medical specialty and departmental affiliation of the professors. Much of this variability is due to university traditions in the configuration of credits and programmes, and also to the structure of the hospital-based practical training. Undergraduate medical students deserve a more coherent and modern approach to education with a strong emphasis on clinical practice. Oncology is an interdisciplinary science that requires the input of professors from multiple specialties to provide the primary body of knowledge and skills needed to obtain both a theoretical and clinical understanding of cancer. Clinical skills should be a key focus due to their importance in the current model of integrated medical management and care.

Clinical radiation oncology is a traditional and comprehensive hospital-based platform for undergraduate education in oncology. In Spain, a significant number (n = 80) of radiation oncology specialists have a contractual relationship to teach university courses. Most Spanish universities (80%) have a radiation oncologist on staff, some of whom are department chairs and many others are full professors who have been hired and promoted under competitive conditions of evaluation as established by the National Agency for Quality Evaluation.

The Spanish Society of Radiation Oncology (SEOR) has identified new opportunities to improve undergraduate education in oncology. In this article, we discuss proposals related to theoretical (20 items) and practical clinical training (9 items). We also describe the SEOR University Forum, which is an initiative to develop a strategic plan to implement and organize cancer education at the undergraduate level in an interdisciplinary teaching spirit and with a strong contribution from radiation oncologists.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2013; 18(6) : 405-413


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http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/15071367/19/2