Resources for Medical Students


The population of people with cancer and cancer survivors continue to grow. This trend means that oncologists and non-oncologists alike will encounter a growing population of patients seeking treatment. ASCO aims to support physician education to ensure that this booming patient population receives the highest quality of care. To achieve this goal, ASCO offers medical students  free membership  and access to numerous educational and training resources, such as the ASCO University Tumor Boards and the ASCO University Exam Preparation.

ASCO-Sponsored Cancer Interest Groups

New this year! ASCO-Sponsored Cancer Interest Groups help to connect interested Medical Students with resources and information about careers in oncology.

ASCO-Sponsored Cancer Interest Group:

  • Start-up funds for your school's cancer interest group
  • A forum to network with other students interested in oncology
  • Resources to help with career choices
  • Assistance identifying mentors

The application for the 2015-2016 school year is closed.  

Acceptance Process

Approval will be based on complete and timely submission of application materials. We can only accept one application per institution. Applications should be submitted by the Medical Student Interest Group President.

Cancer Interest Group Application Timeline

Application Opens June 1, 2015
Application Deadline August 24, 2015
Acceptance Notifications September 18, 2015
Support Funds Mailed October 15, 2015


How to Get Started

Application Guidelines


If you have any questions, please contact

ASCO-Sponsored Cancer Interest Groups are supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment.

2015 ASCO Annual Meeting

Missed the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting? Get the highlights from ASCO Daily News.

ASCO Membership

ASCO Membership Free for Medical Students

ASCO Membership will provide the following benefits:

  • Publications:
    • Free: JOP (online only), Cancer in the News, ASCO Connection, ASCO Post, ASCO Express and monthly ASCO 101 email
    • Discounted: JCO ($50), JOP (print - $50)
  • Discounts:
    • Discounted registration fee for Annual Meeting and Symposia
    • 20% discount for ASCO University Bookstore products
    • Discounted image use from ASCO University
  • Meetings:
    • Advanced housing and registration for Annual Meeting and Symposia
    • Advanced access to Ticketed Sessions for Annual Meeting
    • Can submit one abstract as presenter and first author  (must have a sponsor signature from Full Member)
  • Other:
    • Access to online research tools (AIA, ACT, FDA alerts)
    • Access to Oncology Career Center
    • Eligible for Conquer Cancer Foundation grants and awards
    • Access to patient resources on Cancer.Net
    • Access to ASCO Member Directory, ASCO LinkedIn group, and other networking tools

What to Look for in a Residency Program

Ideally, you will find a residency that affords ample opportunity for hands-on clinical training. In addition, the ideal residency offers a supportive environment that allows and encourages continued learning and performance improvement.

Consider a program at a cancer center with well-developed multidisciplinary programs and specialists who focus on specific diseases. If you are interested in academics, you are encouraged to:

  • Find a program in which the oncologists are actively involved in clinical or translational research. This might allow you to participate in research studies during residency.
  • Explore taking time during medical school to participate in summer research programs. Or even consider full-year research programs, such as those available at NCI.

Oncology Specialties

Oncology: The Highest Stakes and the Greatest Rewards

No matter which area of medicine you are drawn to, there is an oncology specialty for you to consider:

  • Internal Medicine, subspecialty of Medical Oncology
  • Pediatrics, subspecialty of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • OB/GYN, subspecialty of Gynecologic Oncology
  • Radiation Oncology specialty
  • Surgery, specialization in Surgical Oncology
  • Urology, specialization in Urologic Oncology

The areas listed above range from specialties to subspecialties to specializations that don’t include a board examination. Depending on which area you pursue, training (including residency) will range from 5-8 years.

Entering the field of oncology provides many benefits:

  • Oncologists have the opportunity to be involved in relatively young but rapidly evolving specialties
  • Oncologists have the chance to work in a field that continues to deliver new developments for cancer patients.
  • Since oncology is the model of multidisciplinary care, the oncologist plays an increasing leadership role in managing the cancer research and care team
  • Oncology blends important health care advances in a setting of committed oncology nurses, psychologists, and modality specialists. 
  • Oncologists have the opportunity to form the most intense, personal relationships with patients of any field of medicine.

ASCO published a report on the oncology workforce predicting that by 2020, the field would face a shortage of up to 4,100 oncologists. This shortage will be the result of:

  • An Aging population
  • Increased cancer survivorship

These two factors will increase the demand for oncology visits by 48%.

Oncology Practice Settings

Oncology can be practiced in three general arenas: academic practice, community practice, or practice in industry or government.

Academic practice is a practice closely aligned with a university or medical school. These practices generally have three stated goals: education, research, and patient care. ¶ In their professional lives, academic physicians may emphasize one of these areas over the other two. However, they always endeavor to carry out the tripartite academic mission.

A Day in the Life of an Academic Oncologist

Community practice generally refers to two kinds of practice. One is "private practice.” The other is practice within large organizations whose primary goal is patient care. ¶ “Private practice” refers to job positions in which day-to-day care of patients is the primary occupation. It can include:

  • Multispecialty medical groups
  • Staff-model HMO's

Employment by government agencies (federal, state, county, or city) 

A Day in the Life of a Community Practitioner

Industry or government practice is closely tied to the overall mission of the organization. Many industrial firms view their mission the same as any academic organization; that is, to perform research to expand knowledge and create new products. However, such firms tend to be organized to develop or support a commercial product. Therefore, it is fair to differentiate practices within their structure. Physicians who practice in government generally work to develop or support the development of public policy. They accomplish this primarily through implementing or developing regulations, or by supporting lawmakers.

A Day in the Life of an Industry Oncologist
A Day in the Life of an Oncologist in Government

Past Annual Meeting Sessions Relevant to Medical Students

ASCO Resources