Educational Objectives

The major objective of the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program is to train highly skilled radiation oncologists to be familiar with the most advanced techniques in clinical treatment and to understand the principles of cancer therapy.

Program Goals

  • In addition to excellent clinical training, the goal is to provide residents with a meaningful research experience. Residents will be proficient in each of the subspecialties within radiation oncology and have the ability to plan complex treatments, including stereotactic radiosurgery and brachytherapy.
  • Residents will be proficient in radiation biology and radiation physics concepts to allow for board certification
  • The overall educational goal of the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program is to graduate residents prepared to fill leadership positions in the field of radiation oncology in future years
  • Residents will conduct research in clinical, biological, and physical sciences. Research will result in presentations at national meetings, publications, and competition for funding from societies and foundations.

Rotations

Clinical Radiation Oncology

The objective of the Clinical Radiation Oncology Rotation is to teach the most advanced techniques in clinical treatment and the principles of cancer therapy in each of the subspecialties within radiation oncology. By the completion of the Residency Program, the residents will be able to:

  • Perform histories, physicals, diagnostic evaluations, and staging appropriate to specific malignancies
  • Prescribe and implement radiation therapy specific to a particular tumor site and histology utilizing external beam irradiation, including intensity modulated radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery, or brachytherapy 
  • Be aware of other treatment modalities available for treatment of specific malignancies and know how to integrate combined-modality therapies
  • Develop communication skills required to establish working relationships with medical and surgical oncologists and other medical professionals

Medical Oncology (Adult and Pediatric)

Residents will assist adult and pediatric medical oncologists in the care of patients in the hospital and in outpatient clinics. At the completion of the Medical Oncology Rotation, they will be able to:

  • Perform history and physical examinations appropriate to patients with various forms of cancer, with particular attention to examination of the primary site and common sites of spread of the particular type of malignancy
  • Stage the cancer
  • Interpret radiographic studies and recognize pertinent pathologic findings
  • Understand the various types of treatment for the specific age ranges and malignancies

Radiation Physics

The objective of the Radiation Physics Rotation is to teach basic principles of radiation physics, basic methods of external beam dosimetry, interstitial and intracavitary dosimetry, and principles and practices of intensity-modulated radiation therapy. We also aim to provide outstanding clinical physics training for residents for safe, effective, and efficient delivery of radiation treatments.

Radiation Biology

The Radiation Biology Rotation provides instruction in the interaction of radiation with normal and malignant tissues, early and late effects of radiation, various types of radiation used for therapy, and training in radiation safety. Residents will apply this knowledge in the selection of safe and effective treatments for patients and will prepare for the board certification examination in radiation oncology. Residents also may spend elective time in radiation biology research.

Multidisciplinary Conferences and Tumor Boards

Residents will attend multidisciplinary conferences and present cases as needed. They will accumulate skills and experience to:

  • Recognize the common presentations and physical findings in patients with particular types of malignancies, including common routes of spread of disease
  • Know the various means of obtaining tissue for diagnosis, which methods are best for particular types of tumors, and recognize the difference between benign and malignant tissues on pathologic review
  • Be able to interpret plain films, CT scans, MRI, and nuclear medicine studies for diagnosis and staging of patients
  • Be familiar with the different modalities used in treatment of various malignancies (surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy) and which types of treatment are most effective for a particular type or stage of malignancy

Clinical Lectures

Lectures will be provided to supplement teaching in the various rotations within the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program and are also available in other areas of UT Southwestern. Goals of these lectures are to provide specific information on various disease processes and treatment options, as well as to provide a forum for discussion.

Electives

Residents may spend elective time in clinical or research rotations. Residents may elect to concentrate more heavily in one of the areas of disease already covered in the mandatory rotations, or to spend the time at a facility offering a modality not available at UT Southwestern. In either case, the goals of the rotation would be the same as the goals for the mandatory clinical rotations noted previously. Residents may also elect to perform basic research in radiation physics or radiation biology, with the goal of gaining specific training, which will form the basis of a research career.