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Radiation Oncology (Minnesota)


During the four-week radiation oncology elective, students work with several staff consultants to see patients with a variety of malignant diseases. Trainees participate in the initial evaluation, treatment planning, management and follow-up care of patients.

Students are encouraged to attend available multidisciplinary and radiation oncology-specific conferences. A resident-led lecture series providing an introduction to radiation oncology is available for interested students. In addition to photon-based external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), students often gain exposure to other modalities including proton radiotherapy, radioactive implants (brachytherapy), intraoperative electron beam radiation, gamma knife radiosurgery and whole body irradiation.

Specific goals

  1. Learn, in general terms, the role of radiation therapy in the treatment of malignant disease, including the goals and limitations of this approach to the treatment of cancer
  2. Demonstrate the ability to take and convey an appropriately detailed history, perform examinations (including physical exam and laboratory, radiologic and other objective findings)
  3. Learn the role of radiation therapy in the treatment of common malignant diseases, including lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer
  4. Describe the role of radiation therapy in the palliation of symptomatic malignant disease, particularly in painful bone metastases
  5. Communicate effectively with patients and their families in situations ranging from terminal to curable disease
  6. Learn the basic physical and biological basis of radiation therapy
  7. Learn about the role of prospective clinical trials in the evaluation of new cancer treatments

Activity outline

  1. * Chart rounds for presentation of new patients on treatment.
  2. ** This conference varies week to week but is most often resident-led with faculty input. During morning conference, students are invited to give 30-minute presentations on topics of their choice near the end of their rotations.
  3. *** Schedule varies and includes speakers from outside of radiation oncology.
  4. **** Time may occasionally run past 5 p.m. depending on patient care responsibilities.
8-9 a.m. Chart Rounds* Morning Conference** Didactic Core Curriculum Morning Conference** Disease Site Conference***
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clinical Preceptorship
Clinical Preceptorship
Clinical Preceptorship
Clinical Preceptorship
Clinical Preceptorship

Method of evaluation

Staff members evaluate the students with whom they work. Students can earn a grade of honors by performing outstanding patient work-ups and by making excellent case presentations, including a brief review of pertinent peer-reviewed literature. Students are encouraged to participate in the new-patient conference, which allows evaluation of their teaching skills.