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Is there any career where Genetics and Cancer research morphs into a single job?

I am drawn to genetic studies and also, I find myself really interested in Cancer treatment and research. I want to contribute to the advancements in Cancer research. I wanted to know if there are any courses through which I can become a Cancer researcher.

Which course is it? What should I do after school to get that degree? How long will it take for the completion of that degree and where can I work after that?
What's the average salary and what does the whole process look like?
#research #biology #science #medicine #phD #lab #cancer

Thank you comment icon Alexandra's response was very detailed and spot on. Genetics is an amazing field, and is related to cancer research. As a cancer registrar, our part is not how the research is done; however, the data we collect is a used in the 'research'. Here is a link to the National Cancer Registrar's Association that provides venues for education. Best of luck to you in this ever evolving field. https://www.ncra-usa.org/Education Tammy Horvath

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Alexandra’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team

Hi Samyukta! I wanted to be a geneticist for many years, but I also have a biology background, so I think I can help a bit here!

Yes, there are TONS of career opportunities in EXACTLY what you described! Scientists have come to understand the human genome a lot better in recent years, and one of the main things they are using that knowledge to do is to study people's cancer risk. Certain genes that we pass on have implications for how likely we each are to develop specific types of cancer, and there are many research opportunities involved in isolating these genes & seeing how differences in these genes relate to developing certain cancers. Some researchers look at gene mutations that are heritable, for example. Others study something called Genomics, which does not look at heredity, but at changes in the genes of living cells.

Depending on precisely what aspect of cancer research you are interested in ("genetics" and "genomics" are the two major categories here), you will want to follow a slightly different path further down the line. However, since you sound like you're currently in high school, I'll give you as many steps as I possibly can starting with where you're at now.

Firstly, make sure you finish high school with a strong science background. Take as much biology and chemistry as you can, especially if your school has options for advanced courses. I would also recommend completing at least precalculus while in high school. Statistics or calculus would also be great, but if you aren't able to take these, don't worry - they will be available in college. You should also make sure you are a strong writer - and based on your question, it seems like you already have great English skills! Keep this up, as you will need your language and writing skills to communicate procedures and findings as a researcher.

If you are specifically looking to contribute to the "advancements" in cancer research, you will likely want to complete a Ph.D. in a biological science, or a medical degree. This will be determined by precisely what you want to be researching about cancer, but the preparation for now is about the same for both. Both graduate-level programs will require you to attend college for a 4-year degree and take many science and math courses. Exactly what they require will vary by program, and the length of time for each degree may be different in India than it is in the United States where I am based. In general, you should expect to be in school for about 7-11 additional years after high school. I know that's a long time, but there are ways to work in cancer research without getting a Ph.D. or a medical degree. It might just mean that you won't get to design the research studies or be in charge of publishing your results. That's okay, and you can still make a major contribution to the field even if you're not at the top.

Check out the "next steps" for some other things to do while you are completing your undergrad work. You don't have to have your entire path mapped out just yet, and you should definitely use your time in undergrad to figure out what specifically about cancer & genetics you may want to study.

Alexandra, CareerVillage.org Team recommends the following next steps:

Complete a bachelors (4-year) degree; it will be most time-efficient to do this in biology, chemistry, or a related science.
While in college, work in a research laboratory. You might be able to do this as a "class." Get into a lab as early as you can!
Narrow your interests in genetics & cancer, which will help you figure out if the research you want to do is better suited for someone who is a Ph.D. or someone who is a doctor.
In your sophomore or junior year of undergrad, start researching graduate (or medical) schools. Make sure you pay attention to their requirements for admission, because you may need to add some classes to your college plan in order to meet those requirements.
Don't stress! Talk to professors, read about cancer & genetics outside of class, meet with academic advisors, etc. and ask lots of questions! You don't have to have everything prepared at once for your career, just take it one step at a time and make sure you're prepared for the next phase of your education.
Thank you comment icon I really am so grateful for the time and effort you put into answering my question. I will keep a special lookout for your answers because you gave me a very detailed view of the matter. Thank you so much for that, Alexandra! :) Samyukta
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome!! I'm so excited that you are interested in this field. You have so many opportunities ahead of you! Wishing you the best! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Sumitra’s Answer

Hi there!

May be this link can help you :
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-cancer-researcher

Hope this helps 😊
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