General principles of treatment

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Ideal oncology curriculum > General principles of treatment

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Objective 5.1

At graduation, the student should be able to:

a) demonstrate a recognition of the importance of the patient in the decision-making process and the influences that affect their choices
b) describe the principles of treatment with intent to cure and palliate
c) describe the role of multidisciplinary management of the patient
d) demonstrate an understanding that tailoring of standard treatment protocols may be an appropriate component of patient focused care
e) demonstrate awareness of the process and outcome measures including concepts of self audit and quality assurance to minimise deviation from best practice
f) outline how the treatment of malignancies by different modalities of treatment is guided by the natural history of the malignancy and the findings of staging evaluations
g) demonstrate an understanding of the unique features of the management of cancer in children and adolescents and cancer in the elderly
h) demonstrate an understanding of the management of potential complications of cancer treatments eg. febrile neutropenia, mucositis, radiation skin injury
i) demonstrate an understanding of the management of common oncological emergencies eg. spinal cord compression, hypercalcaemia
j) demonstrate an understanding of the patho-physiology of oncology emergencies and their management eg. compressive, obstructive, coagulation and metabolic syndromes.


Representative questions that suggest the required depth of knowledge

1. List the possible causes of confusion in a patient with metastatic lung cancer.

Essential in answer:

  • CNS – brain metastases
  • Metabolic – hypercalcaemia, renal failure
  • Iatrogenic – drugs eg. morphine, steroids


2. How does the therapeutic ratio change when surgery is used for the palliation of lung cancer rather than for cure?

Essential in answer:

  • Shorter survival prospects of patients
  • Reduced acceptability of side effects