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Conference Report

Conference report: Introducing oncology to undergraduate medical and allied health sciences students: reflections from 2nd ecancer TMC Oncology Congress 2023 at Kolkata, India

15 Dec 2023
Soumitra Shankar Datta, Sanjit Agrawal, Prateek Jain, Jeevan Kumar, Arnab Bhattacharjee, Ayush Bansal, Shagun Mahajan, Dibakar Podder, Kapila Manikantan, Gaurav Kumar, Bidisha Samanta, Sohini Sarkar, Soumita Ghose, Niladri Ghosal, Mary Guevera, Danny Burke

Despite the high cancer burden in low-middle-income-countries, medical students often have inadequate exposure to oncology. This may contribute to reduced interest in pursuing training in the field. The second ecancer TMC Oncology Congress at Kolkata on 30th September and 1st October 2023 was planned primarily to introduce undergraduate medical and allied health science students to oncology. There were separate sessions on breast cancer, thyroid cancer, myeloma and research methods so that students get exposure to a wide range of topics. Multi-disciplinary case-based discussions on common clinical presentations helped the students grasp the way a modern cancer hospital functions. Eighty-two percent (131/159, 82%) of the pre-registered delegates attended the congress alongside 44 national and international faculty from surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, nuclear medicine, radiology, histopathology, psychiatry and palliative medicine. Of those who offered written anonymous feedback, 76% (70/91, 76%) rated the congress to be excellent. Broadly the following themes emerged from the qualitative feedback a) Delegates positively viewed the opportunity to ‘interact and learn from some of the best of minds in the field of medicine’ b) Suggestions included ‘more interactive sessions through case histories, demonstrations of techniques, videos, quizzes, etc.’ to make the learning experience more engaging. c) Considerable appreciation was expressed for learning about ‘scientific writing’ d) A few delegates were also inspired by the ‘style’ of some of the presentations and felt that this would help to design their presentations in the future. Introducing oncology early during their career may inspire undergraduate students to explore the option of pursuing a career in oncology and allied specialties. A video summarising the event is available at https://ecancer.org/en/video/11672-introducing-oncology-to-undergraduate-medical-and-allied-health-sciences-students. All the talks presented during the conference are available at https://ecancer.org/en/conference/1505-2nd-ecancer-tmc-kolkata-oncology-congress.

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