Purpose Internists and primary care providers play a growing role in cancer care. We therefore evaluated the awareness of radiation therapy in general and specifically the clinical utility of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) among current US internal medicine residents. Methods and Materials A web-based institutional review board–approved multi-institutional survey was distributed to US internal medicine residency programs. The survey evaluated trainee demographic characteristics, baseline radiation oncology awareness, knowledge of the role of SBRT for early-stage NSCLC, and whether the survey successfully improved awareness. Results Thirty US internal medicine programs participated, with an overall participant response rate of 46% (1177 of 2551). Of the trainees, 93% (n=1076) reported no radiation oncology education in their residency, 39% (n=452) reported confidence in knowing when to consult radiation oncology in an oncologic emergency, and 26% (n=293) reported confidence in knowing when to consult radiation oncology in the setting of a newly diagnosed cancer. Of the participants, 76% (n=850) correctly identified that surgical resection is the standard treatment in operable early-stage NSCLC, but only 50% (n=559) of participants would recommend SBRT to a medically inoperable patient, followed by 31% of participants (n=347) who were unsure of the most appropriate treatment, and 10% (n=117) who recommended waiting to offer palliative therapy. Ninety percent of participants (n=1029) agreed that they would benefit from further training on when to consult radiation oncology. Overall, 96% (n=1072) indicated that the survey increased their knowledge and awareness of the role of SBRT. Conclusions The majority of participating trainees received no education in radiation oncology in their residency, reported a lack of confidence regarding when to consult radiation oncology, and overwhelmingly agreed that they would benefit from further training. These findings should serve as a call to increase the educational collaboration between internal medicine and radiation oncology departments to ensure optimal cancer care.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
|Published - Aug 1 2017
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cancer Research