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Medical e-book the answer to traditional print 'dilemma'

03 November, 2014

Cancer management and treatment is a rapidly evolving field. As a result a dilemma constantly faced by academics and medical students is printed textbooks often becoming outdated even before they hit shelves.

A new online resource for Australian and New Zealand medical students looking to brush up on their oncology knowledge hopes to change that.

Clinical Oncology for Medical Students is a free online e-book published by Cancer Council Australia's Oncology Education Committee in association with experts from 20 Australasian universities. It is the first of its kind to be published in Australia and New Zealand.

The e-book covers the principles of oncology care, from cancer types, epidemiology, diagnosis, familiar cancers and genetic testing, through to cancer management, treatment and professional issues. It is designed to complement the recommended Ideal oncology curriculum for medical students.

Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Ian Olver, co-edited the book alongside Associate Professor Sabe Sabesan from James Cook University. Professor Olver said online resources were increasingly being employed to ensure that medical information provided to students remained up-to-date.

Reflecting best practice

"We recognised that students no longer head to the library and stick their head in their books to research or study. They increasingly get their medical information online, when and where it suits them," Professor Olver said.

"That's why we decided to collaborate with leading universities to develop a resource that would not only provide easy access, but could also be constantly evolved and updated to reflect best practice."

Associate Professor Sabesan said he was grateful to the members of Cancer Council Australia's  Oncology Education Committee, and all the academics and clinicians involved, who had worked together enthusiastically to develop an innovative resource for the next generation of clinicians.

"Since oncology is a sub-specialty field that evolves rapidly, and most oncology text books target trainees and specialists, it was necessary to develop a book that met the curriculum requirements of students," he said.

"We anticipate that the e-book will both help to improve students' oncology knowledge, as well as provide an easily accessible resource whenever it's needed, ultimately helping to provide better cancer care to Australian cancer patients."

Contributing universities include Australian National University, Bond University, Deakin University, Flinders University, Griffith University, James Cook University, Monash University, The University of Adelaide, The University of Auckland, The University of Melbourne, The University of Notre Dame Australia, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australian, University of New England, University of New South Wales, University of Otago, University of Tasmania, University of Western Sydney and University of Wollongong.

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