Background and Context:Cancer education largely encompasses the health professional-community-social activist triumvirate. Within medical education portals, it is restricted to curricular content or continuous professional development. An additional dimension, less explored - extramural sensitization to diagnostic skills as the centerpiece of cancer management - can inspire and empower a new generation of medical professionals with a strong skill-based knowledge of cancer management.
Aim:To empower medical students to graduate with enhanced insights into cancer; to use small group interactions in informal instruction for interprofessional sensitization and personality development and to inspire mentoring skills in GenNext.
Strategy/Tactics:An integrated medical curriculum in the College of Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman has pre-primed students to be initiated into cancer education. A series of innovative activities beyond the classroom/bedside duo created a new movement in cancer education.
Programme/Policy Process:A clinicopathologic conference (SCRAPS) was transformed into a student-propelled narrative illustrating a real-life journey with a breast cancer patient from clinic to radiology, witnessing and tracing FNAC and core biopsies to the lab, sharing the breaking of bad news and culminating in the MDT to experience the dynamics of multimodality decision making. These experiences catalyzed a cancer diagnostic skill-learning movement conceived by student scientific bodies (SCOME & SCORE) and mentored by the author. Armed with confidence, ideas and enthusiasm grew exponentially. A series of skill-workshops on tumor grossing, fine needle aspiration cytology and immunohistochemistry are now in demand beyond college hours; sessions oversubscribed.
Outcomes/What was learned:
A new understanding of the ‘clinical’ applications of the lab in cancer, real-life pathobiology, a spurt of ideas for student research and a newfound respect for laboratory technologists have been the overt outcomes. There is tremendous potential to go beyond conventional teaching and prepare a new generation of cancer-awakened professionals. The seed has been sowed.