Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 56–58 | Cite as

Student Perspectives on Oncology Curricula at United States Medical Schools

  • Brandon C. Neeley
  • Daniel W. Golden
  • Jeffrey V. Brower
  • Steve E. Braunstein
  • Ariel E. Hirsch
  • Malcolm D. MattesEmail author


Delivering a cohesive oncology curriculum to medical students is challenging due to oncology’s multidisciplinary nature, predominantly outpatient clinical setting, and lack of data describing effective approaches to teaching it. We sought to better characterize approaches to oncology education at US medical schools by surveying third and fourth year medical students who serve on their institution’s curriculum committee. We received responses from students at 19 schools (15.2% response rate). Key findings included the following: (1) an under-emphasis of cancer in the curriculum relative to other common diseases; (2) imbalanced involvement of different clinical subspecialists as educators; (3) infrequent requirements for students to rotate through non-surgical oncologic clerkships; and (4) students are less confident in their knowledge of cancer treatment compared to basic science/natural history or workup/diagnosis. Based on these findings, we provide several recommendations to achieve robust multidisciplinary curriculum design and implementation that better balances the clinical and classroom aspects of oncology education.


Oncology education Undergraduate oncology education Medical student oncology education Cancer education Cancer curriculum 


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon C. Neeley
    • 1
  • Daniel W. Golden
    • 2
  • Jeffrey V. Brower
    • 3
  • Steve E. Braunstein
    • 4
  • Ariel E. Hirsch
    • 5
  • Malcolm D. Mattes
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.West Virginia University School of MedicineMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology at the Pritzker School of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human OncologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiation OncologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Radiation OncologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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