Radiation Oncology Teaching Programmes as Part of the Undergraduate Degree in Medicine in Spanish Universities: the Need for an Update of the Contents and Structure
The relevance of radiation oncology (RO) teaching in the Faculty of Medicine Degree Plan is justified by the high number of cancer patients who will require it at some point in their evolution of radiotherapy (RT). About 40 % of the population who will suffer cancer will be cured by RT alone or other related treatment modalities. Therefore, cancer education and RT teaching needs to have an in depth impact in the undergraduate medicine programmes. This education component is highly variable, not only among countries but also within each country, in terms of content (theory and practical training), number of credits and departmental affiliation of the teachers. Our aim is to take a snapshot of the situation of the teaching of RO in undergraduate university education in Spain. We have analysed 40 Spanish universities about specific aspects related to the teaching of RT. Information was obtained by mail or telephone contact throughout 2015. We have analysed the elements involved in teaching performance. In universities with various instructional units, we have taken the average of them. Among the Universities consulted in Spain, during the period of the medical degree, the average time allocated to RT lectures is 12 h (range, 0-36), the mean time allocated to seminars is 4 h (range, 0-22), and the mean time assigned to practices is 11 h (range, 0-38). The subject is mainly taught by a radiation oncologist and 80 % of Spanish universities have at least one radiation oncologist on staff. Undergraduate radiation oncology teaching in Spain shows structural heterogeneity. The Spanish Society of Radiation Oncology (SEOR) University Forum has identified new opportunities and elaborated a proposal to improve undergraduate education in oncology.