There is a growing demand for academic education for oncologists and haematologists to increase their clinical competence in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with haematological malignancies. Cancer is predicted to be an increasingly important cause of morbidity and mortality in the next few decades, in all regions of the world.
The expected demographic changes in the next two decades mean that even if current global cancer rates remain unchanged, the estimated incidence of 12.7 million new cancer cases in 2008 will rise to 21.4 million by 2030, with nearly two thirds of all cancer diagnoses occurring in low- and middle-income countries(1). Changing definitions and classifications of haematological malignancies (HMs) complicate incidence comparisons.
Nevertheless, age-specific and age-standardized incidence rates for European HMs according to these groupings, estimated from 66.371 lymphoid malignancies (LMs) and 21.796 myeloid malignancies (MMs) registered in 2000-2002 by 44 European cancer registries, grouped into 5 regions. Age-standardized incidence rates were 24.5 (per 100.000) for LMs and 7.55 for MMs(2). The commonest LMs were plasma cell neoplasms (4.62), small B-cell lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphatic leukaemia (3.79), diffuse B-cell lymphoma (3.13), and Hodgkin lymphoma (2.41). According to the epidemiological data, as well as the demographic trends, there is a growing, high demand for qualified and well educated oncologists treating patients with lymphoma.
At present numerous continuing medical education (CME) seminars in the field of lymphoma are offered. However, to our knowledge, this is the first competence programme which is focusing on both the clinical and the scientific competence improving quality in the management of lymphoma patients.
The European School of Oncology, Bellinzona/Milano, in co-operation with Ulm University, is presenting a structured Certificate of Competence in Lymphoma Programme that was developed with the contribution of internationally recognised physicians and scientists in the field of haemato-oncology.
The Curriculum was established observing the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Clinical Practice Guidelines.
The Programme, which is offered on a part-time basis using blended-learning modules and seminars, is divided in three attendance seminars and four e-learning modules.
The three attendance seminars will consist of sessions organised only for the Programme participants and of sessions scheduled at other selected haemato-oncology courses or conferences.
Over the duration of 14 months, the Programme provides a total of 405 hours of comprehensive learning, accordingly reported with a workload of 14 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Points (ECTS) by Ulm University.
Three attendance seminars represent 75 hours of workload and 3 ECTS, and four e-learning modules represent 330 hours, reported with 11 ECTS.
Upon successful completion of the Programme, participants will obtain an academic Certificate issued by the European School of Oncology and Ulm University assigning 14 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Points (ECTS), equalling a work load of 405 hours and a diploma supplement by Ulm University.
The first edition of the Certificate in Competence in Lymphoma Programme concluded in March 2014 at the University of Ulm where all students successfully passed their final exam and received their certificates. The overall average pass mark was 90%.
The second edition of the Certificate in Competence in Lymphoma Programme concluded in April 2016 at the University of Ulm where all students successfully passed their final exam and received their certificates. The overall average pass was again 90%.
The quality of the education offered in the programme was very highly rated. The students also reported that the workload balanced with the provided study time-line was adequate. Due to the positive feedback it was decided to plan the second edition which is scheduled to start in February 2015. In the second cohort each participant will be assigned a tutor i.e. one of the four certificate chairs that will guide them throughout the curriculum.
(1) Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2011 (IARC CancerBase No.10).
(2) Sant M., Allemani C, Tereanu C et al.: Incidence of hematologic malignancies in Europe by morphologic subtype: results of the HAEMACARE project. Blood 2010 116:3724-3734