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What is it like to be an Oncologist?

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Primarily, I am curious to know what the working hours, the flexibility of work hours, the levels of stress, and the job salaries are. Also, are there any location restrictions to this career? #oncologist #oncology

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Rachel’s Answer

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Hi Jacob, I am a colorectal surgeon and work for Texas Oncology performing surgeries on patients with abdominal cancers. While I work more on the surgical side, rather than the medical side (medical oncologists treat with chemotherapy rather than surgery), I can tell you that work hours are very reasonable once you complete training. I work from 9-5 pm Monday through Friday. Work hours are flexible in most clinics. At my location, they schedule clinic when I am available and not in the operating room. I do take emergency calls on nights and weekends, but these are relatively infrequent. This job can be very stressful when patients get sick and are dying, but it is also very rewarding. I am glad that I went through 10 + years of training to provide this service to my community. The location restrictions to this career are more pertinent if you only want to pursue a career in academic medicine. If you are happy doing private practice, any medium to large city will be looking for both oncologists and surgeons who work with cancer patients.
Thank you very much for your response! It was very helpful. Jacob W. Translate
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Estelle’s Answer

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The road to becoming an Oncologist is certainly not easy, but thousands of people do it every year. To become a physician, you need four years of college education, and four years of medical school. Admission to these institutions can be pretty tough based on where you want to go. Complete your premed requirements, get good grades, and score well on your MCAT. Additionally, a residency is 3 years with a 3-year fellowship afterward. It’s a hard and long road and it requires a lot of discipline and passion. I wish you the best on your journey to becoming a physician. Once you are an oncologist, you'll be able to choose where you want to work, which will set the number of hours you work.
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