A medical oncologist manages patients with cancer, and conducts clinical research.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different medical specialties, including Medical Oncology – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route in Medical Oncology
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme to be eligible to apply for a core training programme. Core training comprises either:
These programmes generally involve completing four to six medical placements, and acute on-call work.
Job Progression as a Medical Oncologist
Higher speciality training starts at ST3 and applicants should have the full membership of the Royal College of Physicians before applying for an ST3 post. ST3 training takes at least four years, and trainees who wish to have a dual-CCT can apply for a dual training programme.
There is no CCT subspeciality in Medical Oncology, however, some medical oncologists develop a subspeciality interest in different types of cancers, whilst others develop interests in specific areas such as Palliative Care, paediatric oncology, or imaging.
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 Medical 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 Medical Oncology Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.1, with 114 applications for 54 NTN posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 409 consultants,
- 6 associate specialists,
- 63 speciality doctors,
- 293 speciality registrars,
- 115 core trainees,
- 47 F2 trainees, and
- 32 F1 trainees.
Salaries as a Medical Oncologist
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 of a Medical Oncologist
Medical oncologists work in multidisciplinary teams to diagnose, treat, and support patients with cancer, as well as their families. Additionally, oncology specialists may take part in teaching, audit, translational research, and conducting clinical trials. They generally work in cancer centres, outpatient clinics, day care wards, and inpatient wards – however, around 40% of consultants have reported that they are on call routinely at the weekends.