Bridging the Gap in Global Advanced Radiation Oncology Training: Impact of a Web-Based Open-Access Interactive Three-Dimensional Contouring Atlas on Radiation Oncologist Practice in Russia

J Cancer Educ. 2019 Oct;34(5):871-873. doi: 10.1007/s13187-018-1388-7.


Radiation oncologists in Russia face a number of unique professional difficulties including lack of standardized training and continuing medical education. To combat this, under the auspices of the Russian Society of Clinical Oncology (RUSSCO), our group has developed a series of ongoing in-person interactive contouring workshops that are held during the major Russian oncology conferences in Moscow, Russia. Since November 2016 during each workshop, we utilized a web-based open-access interactive three-dimensional contouring atlas as part of our didactics. We sought to determine the impact of this resource on radiation oncology practice in Russia. We distributed an IRB-approved web-based survey to 172 practicing radiation oncologists in Russia. We inquired about practice demographics, RUSSCO contouring workshop attendance, and the clinical use of open-access English language interactive contouring atlas (eContour). The survey remained open for 2 months until November 2017. Eighty radiation oncologists completed the survey with a 46.5% response rate. Mean number of years in practice was 13.7. Sixty respondents (75%) attended at least one RUSSCO contouring workshop. Of those who were aware of eContour, 76% were introduced during a RUSSCO contouring workshop, and 81% continue to use it in their daily practice. The greatest obstacles to using the program were language barrier (51%) and internet access (38%). Nearly 90% reported their contouring practices changed since they started using the program, particularly for delineation of clinical target volumes (57%) and/or organs at risk (46%). More than 97% found the clinical pearls/links to cooperative group protocols in the software helpful in their daily practice. The majority used the contouring program several times per month (43%) or several times per week (41%). Face-to-face contouring instruction in combination with open-access web-based interactive contouring resource had a meaningful impact on perceived quality of radiation oncology contours among Russian practitioners and has the potential to have applications worldwide.

Keywords: Clinical target volume; Global oncology; Organs at risk; RUSSCO; Radiation oncology; Russia;

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / education*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Organs at Risk / anatomy & histology*
  • Organs at Risk / diagnostic imaging
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Radiation Oncologists / education*
  • Radiation Oncology / education*
  • Russia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires