Introduction

From Oncology for Medical Students

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The 2007 revision of the Ideal Oncology Curriculum (originally published in 1999) was undertaken by the members of the Oncology Education Committee (OEC) of Cancer Council Australia.

The OEC has consulted extensively with the academic staff of all medical schools in Australia and New Zealand in order to revise the 1988 Australian Cancer Society Statement on undergraduate cancer education to create a curriculum guide that aims to identify core skills and competencies in oncology that graduating medical students should possess. This update reflects changing knowledge and skill requirements.

The OEC recommends that the material that follows should appear somewhere in a medical course (not necessarily in a cancer block) to provide a core of knowledge about cancer for the medical graduate. In whatever way it may be integrated, the material will assist in providing for the introduction of patient-centred skills simultaneously with a range of technical skills.

The curriculum has been structured on the educational assumption that learning is an iterative process. As well, a patient-focus rather than the more traditional medical model has been adopted. This situates the presentation of methodological issues in the context of the need for good doctor-patient communication.

Suggested depth of knowledge for each learning objective is illustrated by representative questions indicating the minimum knowledge expected of medical students. These questions are intended as a guide to curriculum committees and are not included as possible examination questions.

The length of the entry for an individual objective is not representative of its importance to the curriculum, nor the amount of time that might be allocated for its teaching. Time allocation per objective will be at the judgement of the educational institution.