The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a specialized medical occupation and the professionals who perform this function are called oncologists. A cancer treatment team is led by an oncologist; several healthcare professionals specializing in different areas comprise such a team working in unison in providing cancer patients with extensive treatment.
Job Profile of a Medical Oncologist
Typically, medical oncologists begin their career path by completing their education from a medical school. An oncology fellowship follows graduation and students will then enter into an internal medical residency. Oncologists can choose to obtain certification from the board to add to their credentials as competent professionals.
The oncology team including pathologists, surgeons, radiologists, dietitians, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, physician assistants, and nurses works in coordination with medical oncologists to deliver a course of treatment to cancer patients. Such treatment can be one or more of various types, such as via hormones, medications and chemotherapy. They are required to work to improve the quality of life of patients, monitor plans of treatment, provide specific information about cancer to patients, write prescriptions, keep records of physical examinations and test results of patients, and make cancer diagnoses. All this is apart from assisting in pain management, discussing treatment options, and explaining development stages of cancer to patients. Cancer patients rely on oncologists to provide them with care during the entire tenure of the disease, starting with diagnosis and ending with recovery or death.
Medical Oncologist Wage Potential
In 2011, medical oncologists earned an average annual salary of $258,421 (source: Salary.com). The average wage of the top ten percent was $408,232 that of the bottom ten percent was $170,996.
Medical Oncologist Career Job Projection
Job growth for all physicians and surgeons including medical oncologists are expected to grow at twenty-two percent during the period from 2008 to 2108, this is higher than the job growth rate projected for all occupations (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)). The increasingly graying population of the United States is expected to cause demand for physicians to increase. However, the burgeoning demand is neutralized to an extent by improving technology owing to which a physician is able to take care of more patients. Also, more physician assistants and nurse practitioners are filling in for more senior physicians at a lower wage. Demand for physicians and surgeons are likely to be highest in medically underserved regions including rural areas. Demand is likely to be highest for professionals who serve the elderly such as medical oncologists.