This study aimed to understand baseline knowledge of basic principles of radiation therapy for lung cancer among medical oncology, thoracic surgery, and pulmonology trainees and practicing physicians and also assess whether a didactic lecture will improve objective knowledge and perceived comfort level in making appropriate referrals to radiation oncology (RO). Radiation oncologists at 8 academic institutions offered a presentation covering indications, logistics, efficacy, and toxicity of thoracic radiation. Participants completed a survey to assess their prior exposures to RO and perceived value of the lecture, and objective knowledge gained based on pre/post-lecture questions. Among 121 attendees, 76 completed the pre-test, and 25 the post-test (response rates 62.8% and 20.7%, respectively). Fifty-seven (75.0%) had never previously experienced a RO didactic about lung cancer, 62 (81.6%) had never seen a linear accelerator, and 65 (85.5%) had never rotated in a RO department. The mean pre-test score was 53.5% (SD 17.6%), with a trend (p = 0.066) towards thoracic surgeons (61.5%) performing better than medical oncologists (55.5%) or pulmonologists (48.3%). Level of training (p = 0.130), and prior RO exposures (p = 0.240), did not significantly impact pre-test scores. The mean post-test score of 75.1% (SD 3.6%) was significantly higher than mean pre-test score (p < 0.001). After the lecture, 25 participants (100%) felt more knowledgeable about RO, and 24 (96%) felt more comfortable making appropriate referrals to RO. A didactic lecture about RO for trainees and physicians who treat lung cancer at 8 academic institutions was feasible, filled a gap in exposure, and improved knowledge.
- Graduate medical education
- Interdisciplinary health team
- Lung cancer
- Medical education
- Radiation therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health