Challenging Oncology Career
An oncology career is a progressive and research driven specialty. Anyone who wishes to pursue this career can look forward to a multidisciplinary field with opportunities to conduct clinical, psycho social and laboratory research as well as whole patient care. Oncologists are consultant physicians that specialize in the investigation, diagnosis and management of people with malignant diseases.
A person who is interested in oncology can choose from a very diverse career option such as clinical care, cancer research, counseling and management regarding cancer risk, teaching and ethics. The main aim of an oncologist is to carry on the research, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer.
Oncology is a relatively young but rapidly evolving specialty. Clinical research is an important and necessary component in oncology as it provides an opportunity for medics to contribute in the advancement of patient management and receive long term career satisfaction. An oncologist is involved in whole patient treatment whereby they interact with both patient and patient’s family in providing continuous care.
This career involves oncologists to combine both clinical and research activities covering diagnosis and treatment of cancer such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapies and biological therapies.
Medical oncologists specialize in certain types of cancer while some treat a variety of cancers and they work together with surgeons, palliative medicine teams, radiology experts and other health professionals in providing all-round patient care.
Qualifications and Positions
Like many medical professions, becoming an oncologist takes a lot of time and hard work. The first step towards an oncology career is to get yourself enrolled in an established medical university and complete your first 4 or 5 years and graduate with an M.D degree. Some of the courses that are covered in a medical oncology degree are Biomedical and oncology research, diagnostic imaging, experimental oncology, genetics, experimental hematology, immunology, radiation oncology and surgical procedures.
Apart from these courses, would-be oncologists also study pharmacokinetic and pharmacology research and conduct laboratory research techniques including cell culture, sample preparation and performing assays as part of cancer research education.
Oncologists may work in clinical research with physicians in areas such as chart review, record screening and examination, data collection and entry. Students with computer skills may choose diagnostic imaging projects such as MR image analysis, radiation oncology projects such as 3D treatment planning or portal image processing.
After that, aspiring oncologists have to apply to an internal medicine residency program and complete the 2 to 4 year compulsory residency training. After doing their residency, interns can choose which branch of oncology they would want to specialize in. If its medical oncology, then they would be involved in the use of medication, chemotherapy and such whereas.
If they opt in choosing surgical oncology, then interns would be involved in surgical procedures and tumor removal. Radiation oncology involves the use of radiation to treat tumors. After completing residencies and fellowships, the oncologist can take exams to become board-certified and further on, enter a private or group practice as an oncologist.
The expected starting salary for an oncologist is $237,025 per annum and oncologist can look forward to working in hospitals, research laboratories, universities, cancer institutes and pharmaceutical companies.