Clinical Oncology involves the use of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to manage patients with cancer.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different medical specialties, including Clinical Oncology – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Clinical Oncology
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme to be eligible to apply for core medical training. Core training comprises either
Applicants must have gained at least 24 months’ experience in various medical specialties and part one of the MRCP before they can apply for an ST3 post. At least 12 months of their training should have been in Acute Medicine.
Job Progression as a Clinical Oncologist
Higher specialist training in Clinical Oncology takes at least five years (ST3 – ST7). Training is divided into three stages:
- Core training in Clinical Oncology (ST3-4), during which time trainees must pass the first examinations for Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR);
- Intermediate training in Clinical Oncology (ST4-5),
- Advanced training in Clinical Oncology (ST6-7), during which time trainees must pass the final FRCR examinations.
There are no sub-specialties in Clinical Oncology but there are several site specialties, of which the most common are breast, lung and genitourinary.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Clinical Oncology Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Clinical Oncology Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 1.6 in the first round, with 115 applications 72 posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 712 consultants,
- 14 associate specialists,
- 62 speciality doctors,
- 339 speciality registrars,
- 83 core trainees,
- 39 F2 trainees, and
- 20 F1 trainees.
Salaries in Clinical Oncology
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments and situations. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life
Clinical oncologists work in specialist cancer hospitals, teaching hospitals, and district general hospitals, during which they will be expected to attend ward rounds, review patients in outpatient clinics, attend multidisciplinary team meetings, and teach junior colleagues. Undertaking research is an important part of the job and may involve running clinical trials or assessing the effectiveness of treatments, however, on-call rotas may be around one-in-eight.