Identifying areas of emphasis for future palliative radiation therapy curricula via an examination of themednet

Kunal K. Sindhu, Eric J. Lehrer, Kavita V. Dharmarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Palliative radiation therapy is essential to the care of patients with advanced cancer. Unfortunately, despite their benefits, the principles of palliative radiation therapy and palliative and supportive care are underrepresented in radiation oncology residency curricula. In this study, we attempted to identify areas of emphasis for future palliative radiation therapy curricula by examining the relevant questions posted to theMednet. Methods: Questions tagged with both “Palliation” and “Radiation Oncology” or “General Radiation Oncology” that were posted to theMednet on or before January 7, 2020 were included in this analysis. The questions were grouped thematically, and subthemes within each broader thematic group were identified. Among the thematic groups, variations in social engagement metrics were assessed using the Kruskal-Wallis Test and non-parametric analysis of variance. Results: A total of 4,188 questions tagged with the terms “Radiation Oncology,” “General Radiation Oncology,” or “Palliation” and posed between 2012 and 2020 were identified. Of these, 161 questions satisfied our inclusion criteria. Upon examination of the identified questions, eight thematic groups and several subthemes were identified, representing areas of possible emphasis for future palliative radiation therapy curricula. Among questions in different thematic groups, however, there were no statistically significant differences in any of the examined social engagement metrics. Conclusions: We found many common question themes and subthemes in our examination of the palliative radiation oncology questions posted to theMednet. Our findings suggest that several opportunities for education exist for radiation oncology residents in regards to palliative and supportive care and palliative radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7370-7377
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of palliative medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Education
  • Palliative radiation therapy
  • Radiation oncology


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