Resources for Medical Students

ASCO is dedicated to providing a strong background in cancer education for the next generation of physicians.

As the population of people with cancer and cancer survivors continues to grow, oncologists and nononcologists alike will encounter patients seeking care. To support physician education and ensure that these patients receive the highest quality of care, 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 also offers support opportunities to medical students interested in formally expanding their knowledge of the oncology field.

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, along with 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 should find a program in which the oncologists are actively involved in clinical or translational research that you might participate in during their residency. Academically oriented students should also be encouraged to explore taking time during medical school to participate in summer research programs or even full-year research programs, such as are 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.

A career in oncology provides the opportunity to be involved in relatively young but rapidly evolving specialties, which are continuing to deliver new developments for cancer patients. Oncology blends important health care advances in a setting of committed cancer nursing, psychology and modality specialists. It is the model of multidisciplinary care where the oncologist plays an increasing leadership role in managing the cancer research and care team. And as such, 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 that predicted a shortage of up to 4,100 oncologists by 2020, when an aging population and increased cancer survivorship will increase the demand for oncology visits by 48%.

Oncology Practice Settings

Oncology practice can be applied 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, whose stated goals are generally three: education, research, and patient care. Academic physicians, in their professional lives, may emphasize one of these areas over the other two, but always endeavor to carry out the tripartite academic mission.

A Day in the Life of an Academic Oncologist

Community practice generally refers to either “private practice” or practice within large organizations for which care of patients is the primary goal. This includes multispecialty medical groups, staff-model HMO’s, and employment by government agencies (federal, state, county, or city) in positions where day-to-day care of patients is the primary occupation.

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 as performing research to expand knowledge and create new products as much as any academic organization. However, such firms tend to be organized to develop or support a commercial product, so it’s fair to differentiate practice within their structure. Physicians who practice in government generally work to develop or support the development of public policy 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