Did you know that cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide? According to studies, around 9.5 million died from cancer in 2018. This number is expected to rise to 16.4 million by the year 2040. With cancer being such a deadly disease, the job of an oncologist has become a necessity in almost every city, state, as well as the county.
An oncologist is a specialist doctor who treats patients with cancer. The job of an oncologist revolves around investigating, diagnosing, as well as treating people with cancer or suspected cancer.
Sub-specialties in the job of an oncologist
- Medical Oncologist
- Surgical Oncologist
- Radiation Oncologist
- Urologic Oncologist
- Pediatric Oncologist
- Hematologist Oncologist
- Gynecologic Oncologist
- Thoracic Oncologist as well as
- Geriatric Oncologist
Key responsibilities of an oncologist
- Consult with patients to understand their complaints as well as take notes of them
- Get the complete medical history of patients.
- Maintain an up to date patient record and charts (This includes patient tests, test results, prescribed treatments, as well as any comments)
- Examine the patients and come up with a diagnosis.
- Perform diagnostic procedures using MRIs, CT Scans, x-rays, and biopsies to assess the existence and extent of cancerous tumors.
- Work with patients by explaining to them the diagnosis, stage of cancer, as well as other related information.
- Discuss treatment options with patients as well as inform them of their potential side effects
- Prescribe various treatments based on the patient’s condition, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
- Treat patients with radiation therapy.
- Part of the job of an oncologist also includes performing bone marrow transplants.
- Head a cancer treatment team. This includes collaborating with as well as consulting various healthcare professionals.
- Communicate with physicians and other specialists (if and when needed)
- Perform surgeries to remove tumors
- Make assessments of the severity of cancer as well as how far it has spread from the point of origin.
- Assist patients with pain management
- Recommend drugs to fight pain, inflammation, nausea, and fatigue.
- Educate patients as well as the family. This includes explaining the current situation, the suggested procedure, and laying down other treatment options in front of them.
- To provide emotional support and care both before and after surgery.
So, what are the skills required for the job of an oncologist?
Let’s be honest! Working as an oncologist isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Apart from working under extreme pressure, certain traits as well as skills are required for this job. Some of these include:
- Patience, empathy, as well as compassion
- Read patients’ body language and determine if they could be a risk to themselves.
- The ability to decipher patient’s feelings as well as predict their actions
- Capacity to endure intense situations as well as deal with them as calmly as possible
- Use of logical reasoning to reach adequate conclusions
- Active communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Manual dexterity
- Part of the job of an oncologist also includes collaborating with other medical professionals, thus making “team work” a fundamental skill set.
- Time management skills
What about the workplace of an oncologist?
Although most oncologists start their careers by choosing to work in a hospital. Soon they move towards private practice; there is no mandatory rule dictating them to do so. According to the US Bureau of Statistics, an oncologist can choose to practice from several different places. Some of these include:
- Hospitals (both general and surgical)
- Private practices
- Outpatient care centers
- Federal agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, etc.)
- Professional schools and universities
Educational Requirements for the job of an oncologist
To become a successful oncologist, one must first fulfill the following educational requirements:
- Get a medical; undergraduate degree.
- Completing four years of medical school
- Take the United States Licensing Exam for medical students
- Complete a three-year internal medicine residency (preferably in internal medicine or oncology.)
- Getting a state license (this varies from state to state)
- Obtain a Board Certification in Internal Medicine from the America Board of Internal Medicine
- Decide which sub-specialty you want to do your fellowship in.
- Complete a three-year-long fellowship in their chosen sub-specialty.
What about salary?
Monetary compensation is an essential incentive in almost any job. As far as the job of an oncologist is concerned, one can expect a salary range as follows:
Minimum annual salary: $229,910
Maximum annual salary: $352,879