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Updated Version of ASCO/ESMO Joint Global Curriculum for Training in Medical Oncology Is Now Available

Oct 25, 2023

On October 23, ASCO and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) released the 2023 edition of their joint recommendations for the Curriculum for Training in Medical Oncology—their expert input on what should be included in medical oncology curricula. 

First published in 2004 and updated in 2010 and 2016, the ESMO/ASCO Recommendations for a Global Curriculum in Medical Oncology are a set of common standards guiding the training of medical oncologists worldwide to ensure that all patients, regardless of where they live, receive care from well-trained medical oncologists. 

“Since the latest edition in 2016, there has been an explosion of new therapies and new indications in imaging knowledge and practices—advances in cellular therapy, refinement of molecular pathology and precision oncology,” noted Tanja Cufer, MD, PhD, who chairs the joint ESMO/ASCO working group responsible for the curriculum. “It is a big effort to keep pace with the developments in the oncology field, but this is good because it means many new possibilities for offering better care to our patients.” 

Approximately 150 authors appointed by ESMO and ASCO with expertise ranging from research to palliative care and cancer control have thoroughly reviewed and created a new publication that is considered a lighthouse in the medical oncology academic circles. “In 2019, when a survey was conducted to assess the implementation of the ESMO/ASCO Global Curriculum, we were pleased to see that it was adopted or adapted in nearly 70% of the surveyed countries,” said Michael P. Kosty, MD, FACP, FASCO, a senior member on the ESMO/ASCO working group. 

The most significant updates include: 

  • A new format based on three key educational principles—objective, key concepts, and skills—to help trainers and trainees 
  • Coverage of the multitude of new therapeutic options and advances and the opportunities and challenges that come with them 
  • A new section on translational and clinical research, research ethics, and statistics 
  • New chapters on cancer control, barriers to cancer care delivery, and emergencies in oncology 
  • Updated and expanded sections on cancer epidemiology and prevention 
  • New section on patient education in addition to the chapter on psychosocial aspects of cancer, acknowledging the important role patients play 
  • New section on cancer research with subsections on translational and clinical research, research ethics, and statistics

The updated recommendations ultimately will support medical oncology trainees around the world to perform specialist assessments and guide systemic therapy in the context of multidisciplinary treatment and counselling of patients with each type of cancer along the disease continuum. 

“There is certainly room for a larger implementation of the Curriculum, and we hope that with the latest version released now, the value of this document will become even more apparent,” concluded Dr. Cufer. 

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