Oncology is a medical specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and palliative treatment of all malignancies such as cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, gynecological organs, colon, of the urinary system etc.
Although one of the biggest roles that an oncologist can have is the ability to speak to patients and communicate information well and with compassion.
They often deal with the most difficult of scenarios, sometimes involving children, and they create in-depth plans to ensure that every party is receiving the best care and advice whilst going forwards in their cancer journey.
What does an oncologist do?
The oncologist, knowing the characteristics of the disease and the way it appears and develops, is the main person responsible and specialist for the design and implementation of programs for the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer, as well as the evaluation of their findings.
The oncologist is also responsible for the complete planning of the therapeutic approach to the disease (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgical exclusion), while it is clearly the only medical specialty that has the appropriate training for the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs and the treatment of their side effects. The three main types of oncologists are:
- Medical oncologists: These physicians may use types of chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.
- Surgical oncologists: They remove tumors from the body as well as take tissue samples which will then be analyzed by a pathologist.
- Radiation oncologists: They use radiation to help treat certain types of cancer to aid in shrinking tumors.
In addition, it is the appropriate medical specialty for the monitoring of cancer patients after the completion of their treatment in order to timely diagnose a possible recurrence of cancer, which is the main goal after the completion of a successful treatment. Of course, the oncologist will not treat the disease alone as he will need both the surgeon oncologist and the radiotherapist oncologist.
Of course oncology is separated into various other areas, such as pediatric oncology, gynecological oncology and various others. All of which require plentiful training.
Oncologist Salary and Expectations
The salary for an oncologist varies because oncology covers a wide range of different skill sets depending on each type of cancer patient they are treating. The median salary for a medical oncologist was $390,000. Newer physicians were likely to start out at around the $350,000 mark. Within this spectrum you will find certain branches of oncology allow the physician to earn higher. Those who are radiation oncologists with this branch of medicine under their belt, can earn over $529,000 on average. The physicians who have knowledge of blood cancers ,chemotherapies as well as bone marrow transplants will earn a little less at around $465,000.
The geography for these salaries also varies. According to analytics at Indeed, we can clearly see that there are some clear differences in pay depending on the state. Atlanta, Georgia, Abilene, Texas and New York were the top three with the lower regions of pay being Miami and Las Vegas. This is also because Texas and Georgia house some of the most respected cancer centers in the USA, including University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, MD Anderson in Georgia. There are many more within the USA.
How do they Oncologists get paid?
Oncologists, like all branches of medicine are paid through insurance and in recent times, Medicare has accounted for 13% of pay although this is a shaved payment to those from private firms. You may also receive administrative supplements which could include insurance, health insurance, life insurance, phone and car assistance and bonuses for contribution and working long hours. Some oncologists are also self employed and work as an individual. This accounts for 55% of revenue in 2019. According to Medscape Oncologist Compensation Report 2019, 81% of oncologists are paid through insurance.
Pros and Cons of being a Oncologist
There are many different pros and cons to the job but many far outweigh the bad. It is a developing industry which means there is room for growth, learning and being involved with pioneering medical development.
- It is a job that has high demand so the jobs are often readily available
- A satisfying career that can assist many thousands of lives
- Good solid salary
- It has unsociable hours sometimes
- It requires a four year medical degree, a three year residency in Internal Medicine, and a three year post residency in Hematology/oncology for 2 years
- You may have to deal with unpleasant news and difficult to handle situations