A Scoping Review of Radiation Oncology Educational and Career-Planning Interventions in Undergraduate Medical Education

Curr Oncol. 2021 Jan 31;28(1):740-749. doi: 10.3390/curroncol28010072.


Radiation oncology (RO) teaching in undergraduate medical education (UME) is lacking worldwide with potentially detrimental effects on medical student career choices and patient care. The objective of this scoping review is to examine the extent of published literature describing RO educational and career-planning interventions in UME. Online databases were searched from respective dates of inception to June 2020 for articles that reported outcomes from RO educational and career-planning interventions in UME. Two independent reviewers screened entries for inclusion. Following full-text reviews, 25 articles were analyzed. Most interventions were a single session, involved clinical medical students, and were based in North America. Didactic teaching was most commonly used, though a majority included interactive learning in addition to or in place of didactic teaching. As expected, there was a heterogeneity of outcomes reported, and most studies collected data using surveys alone. Recurring topics included the multidisciplinary nature of oncology and psychosocial oncology. There was a paucity of studies reporting on formal mentorship programs and research programs. The data collated in this study can help develop new initiatives based on what has succeeded in the past. Areas that may benefit from future studies include mentorship programs, research programs, and interventions from outside North America.

Keywords: clinical clerkship; medical education; medical student; mentoring; radiation oncology; undergraduate medical education.