Teaching the Anatomy of Oncology: Evaluating the Impact of a Dedicated Oncoanatomy Course
Purpose: Anatomic considerations are often critical in multidisciplinary cancer care. We developed an anatomy-focused educational program for radiation oncology residents integrating cadaver dissection into the didactic review of diagnostic, surgical, radiologic, and treatment planning, and herein assess its efficacy. Methods and Materials: Monthly, anatomic-site based educational modules were designed and implemented during the 2008-2009 academic year at Duke University Medical Center. Ten radiation oncology residents participated in these modules consisting of a 1-hour didactic introduction followed by a 1-hour session in the gross anatomy lab with cadavers prepared by trained anatomists. Pretests and posttests were given for six modules, and post-module feedback surveys were distributed. Additional review questions testing knowledge from prior sessions were integrated into the later testing to evaluate knowledge retention. Paired analyses of pretests and postests were performed by Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: Ninety tests were collected and scored with 35 evaluable pretest and posttest pairs for six site-specific sessions. Posttests had significantly higher scores (median percentage correct 66% vs. 85%, p < 0.001). Of 47 evaluable paired pretest and review questions given 1-3 months after the intervention, correct responses rates were significantly higher for the later (59% vs. 86%, p = 0.008). Resident course satisfaction was high, with a median rating of 9 of 10 (IQR 8-9); with 1 being 'less effective than most educational interventions' and 10 being 'more effective than most educational interventions.' Conclusions: An integrated oncoanatomy course is associated with improved scores on post-intervention tests, sustained knowledge retention, and high resident satisfaction.