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What type of education will I need to become an oncologist


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Sheila’s Answer

Hello Zeinabu:

Oncologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy. Oncologists are often the main health care provider for someone who has cancer.

Oncologists typically need a bachelor’s degree, a degree from a medical school, which takes 4 years to complete, and, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Medical schools are highly competitive. Most applicants must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.

Students spend most of the first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and in the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills; learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.

During their last 2 years, medical students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. Through rotations in internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery, they gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses in a variety of areas.

I wish you the best of luck!

~ Sheila

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Research: https://www.careergirls.org/career/oncologist/

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Amy’s Answer

Hi Zeinabu,

Most people who are looking to become oncologists attend a 4 year bachelors program and then go on to attend a medical school. During the summers between your years in college, it is also advisable that you participate in an oncology internship or shadow an oncologist so that you can have a better idea of the day to day lifestyle.

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Mary’s Answer

Good morning,

The best thing to do is find one to follow for a day while you are in high school. They will tell you how they go to their job and specialty.

I kno w first you would need to get an undergraduate degree, then attend medical school and probably study internal medicine. I believe oncology is more education after you complete your internal medicine degree. An advisor at medical school can tell you what they are looking for to make entrance more likely. I think it is probably best to study in undergraduate what you like the best so that your grades are good, but add in classes that can help you in medical school.

I hope this helps. I always think it is good to work in medicine as you are in school too. This gives you a head start. I was an emergency department clerk while I was in High School and an aide while in nursing school. I at least learned the language and found it easier to read medical text. You might want to sign up to be a "scribe" while going to college. It could be better money and quite an education, or on the job training.

I wish you the best of luck. Oncology is changing fast with immunotherapy. It is very exciting! Join a oncology news site and read about it for 5 minutes a day, like Oncology Times.

All it takes is determination and hard work. You don't have to be a genius, but can put off rewards and be devoted and committed to something. There will be sacrifices, like studying instead of parties. But, this can be safer and healthier too. I still study at my age of 63. In medicine you are always a student, medicine is always changing and I find this exciting.

Mary
CRNP- Family

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Rachel’s Answer

Hi Zeinabu,

Oncology is a great field requiring a medical doctorate. This means that you will have to complete college with a bachelor’s degree as well as all of the Pre-med requirements. GPA should probably be 3.5 or better. You will also have to score well on the MCAT. Once accepted to medical school, as long as you pass your classes and perform reasonably well during your four years of medical training, you can apply for an internal medicine 3-year residency. Following that, you will apply for a 3-year hematology and oncology fellowship. 4 years college + 4 years med school + 3 years IM + 3 years Heme Onc = 14 years of school after high school.

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Patricia’s Answer

Good day Zeinabu. My field of work has always been education not the health field. However, I do know that you would need a college bachelor's degree and then medical school...at the very least. As a previous high school educator, the only advice I can give you is to get EXCELLENT grades in high school so you can gain entrance to the college of your choice, and then you would need EXCELLENT grades in college in order to gain access to medical school. I have heard it is extremely difficult to access a medical school without very good grades!!

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Richard’s Answer

4 years of college
4 years of medical school
3 years of internal medicine residency
3 years of oncology fellowship.

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