Oncologists generally need a bachelor's degree, a medical school degree, which takes 4 years to complete, and 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs. One of the most common ways a doctor will approach a cancer diagnosis is through the use of a staging system, from zero to four (or from I to IV), which begins by referring to the least severe cases and then to the most aggressive cases. All types of cancer can be classified this way, where lower stages generally require less aggressive approaches to treatment. When an oncologist discusses a cancer diagnosis with a patient, he or she usually points to the location (s) of the disease, indicates where it has spread, and identifies other parts of the body that may have been affected by the cancer.
An oncologist will highlight possible treatment options for the specific type of cancer in question and recommend the best course of action. An oncologist is also responsible for monitoring any problems related to quality of life, including controlling pain medications and treating common side effects of treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and constipation. oncologists also find work in an academic environment, as colleges and universities also hire doctors to teach and conduct research. Some oncologists choose to devote their time solely to clinical research, which may include exploring aggressive treatment alternatives and conducting studies for research organizations and pharmaceutical companies developing new drug options.
Published articles and research, lectures and conference presentations also read well in a resume, as these activities shed light on the achievements, knowledge and voice that a job candidate possesses. Employers tend to seek professionals who make a constant effort to improve and educate the medical community, as well as the public. In addition, attending medical conferences, subscribing to journals, and attending annual training workshops are other ways to stay up to date and informed about the latest cancer treatment trends, data, and methods. The path to becoming an oncologist means entering an extremely rewarding professional field that goes beyond the prospect of achieving wealth, prosperity and financial security.
The road to getting the right training, education, and credentials is quite long and can take more than 13 years for a person to complete. However, the wide possibilities of making good use of oncology education and training are a rewarding journey for physicians who want to dedicate their efforts to helping patients diagnosed with cancer. Before you start applying for jobs and interviewing yourself, think critically about what you want to do with your career and your life. Think about who you are, your values, your priorities and your goals.
This period of self-reflection is an investment in realizing and satisfying your future career. This is often the most difficult part of the whole process. The analogy to creating the specific objectives page of a grant application is not far-fetched. Specialist training in clinical and medical oncology begins after basic medical training (CMT), which includes completion of MRCP (UK).
Clinical oncology training is supervised through the Royal College of Radiologists and Medical Oncology through the Royal College of Physicians. All oncology training programs follow a structured curriculum and offer training in the basic sciences of cancer and the management of malignancies. During training, most trainees rotate from the main (base) hospital to other hospitals to gain extensive practice experience. In Northern Ireland, students work at the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital and attend clinics in each of the four Cancer Units.
During specialist training in clinical oncology, the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) Fellowship Exam must be obtained. The first FRCR exam, conducted after one year of specialized training, covers the basic sciences of medical physics, medical statistics, radiobiology, cell biology and clinical pharmacology. Most students take the FRCR final exam two years later and this tests the basic management of the most common and some less common malignancies. The final phase of training after the FRCR allows the learner to expand and deepen their experience at one or two disease sites.
Most students spend some time abroad to gain experience with a novel treatment technique, and some will use this time to research. The minimum total duration of training is five years before you are eligible for the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). Medical oncology training is shorter, with a minimum of 4 years for the CCT. Medical Oncology trainees are strongly encouraged to undertake a period of research during their specialized training, and many take the time to complete an MD or PhD scholarship.
Medical Oncology students must take a Specialty Certificate Exam, usually in their penultimate year of training. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), an oncologist is responsible for the care of his patients from the time they are diagnosed with cancer; and throughout the course of the disease, which also includes their time in remission. Additional Medscape figures reveal that oncologists reported an increase of about 4.3% in total income they earned from the previous year. Demand for on-call consultants is approximately one in eight, however, it is unusual for a clinical oncologist to be called during the night, and most of the on-call workload consists of providing telephone counseling to colleagues.
Medical oncologists will work with clinical oncologists, specialized nurses and administrative staff, as well as surgical oncologists, radiologists, histopathologists, other health professionals and research professionals and other professions related to medicine. The final step to becoming a clinical oncologist is completing a three-year oncology fellowship, some of which include training in hematology. At the beginning of each shift there will be a multidisciplinary team meeting where plans for the day will be discussed, after which clinical oncologists will usually go to the outpatient clinic and conduct ward rounds to view and evaluate hospitalized patients. The first visits to an oncologist focus on identifying the presence and type of cancer, and how far it has progressed.
Medical oncology is the non-surgical treatment of malignant disease, using systemic therapy (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and biological agents), while clinical oncology uses both radiation therapy and systemic therapy in the treatment of malignant disease. Starting with applying to medical school, medical students live according to an organized system and timeline. They often support clinical auditing and participate in trials of the National Cancer Research Network that conduct research with clinical applications in oncology. Given the rapid pace of new drug and radiation therapy technologies, oncologists must have a desire to develop and implement new treatments in their clinic.