Resources for Residents

Oncology: The Highest Stakes and the Greatest Rewards

Many physicians go into residency knowing they will eventually specialize in oncology; a good number make that decision during residency training. The following specialties have some form of subspecialization in oncology. This additional training varies in length from 2-5 years, depending upon your area of interest.

  • 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
  • Pathology, multiple areas of subspecialization including neuro, hematology or other organ/tumor specific pathology
  • Radiology, subspecialization in multiple areas often organ specific (such as neuroradiology or mammography) or technique specific (such as nuclear medicine)

The common bond is that, in each of these fields, there is an explosion of research, multidisciplinary care (learn from others your whole career), career choice options (private practice, academics, industry, government) and very rewarding patient relationships.

Finding an Oncology Training Program

ASCO maintains a searchable list of all oncology training programs. Information on many programs can also be found on the AMA's FRIEDA website.

Applying to Oncology Training Programs

Each of the oncology specialty areas has a different application process and timeline. Although a few do have the commonality of using ERAS and participating in the NRMP matches, each process is overseen and/or administered in some way by a separate entity. Get more information about your discipline's subspeciality:

General Information

If you've made the decision to pursue oncology in any specialty area, it is advised that you:

  • Find a mentor.
  • Take advantage of any oncology rotations or research experiences that may be available during your residency.
    • When reviewing applications, fellowship program directors often look for candidates who participated in a research endeavor during medical school or residency.
    • Some degree of academic pursuit is desirable, whether you seek an academic career or a career in practice.
    • If available and applicable, take advantage of an away rotation for a specialized oncology experience.
  • Shown a true interest or drive in a particular area.
  • Shown a tendency to pursue excellence in all areas.

It is not necessary to become a "junior oncologist" during your residency training. Use this time to master the specialty area and then use the fellowship to develop your skills as an oncologist.

About ASCO

Oncology is at the leading edge of the new age in molecular medicine. This makes all fields of oncology the most exciting in all of medicine. As the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who treat people with cancer, ASCO is committed to advancing the education of oncologists and other oncology professionals, to advocating for policies that provide access to high-quality cancer care, and to supporting the clinical trials system and the need for increased clinical and translational research.

The ASCO Annual Meeting attracts more than 30,000 attendees and is considered the premier educational and scientific event in the oncology community. Visit ASCO's Virtual Meeting for links to sessions from this and other thematic (GU Cancers/GI Cancers/Breast) meetings. The blend of science and patient care inherent in oncology is represented here.

ASCO's guide for residents and fellows discussing many early career decisions faced by oncologists, Achieving Career Success in Oncology, provides career development advice and strategies for success to new oncologists as they decide which career path is the right one for them: academia, community practice, pharmaceutical industry, or federal government.

Please contact training@asco.org for more information about participating in ASCO or attending ASCO meetings.

2015 ASCO Annual Meeting

Registration and Housing: Register to take part in the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois from May 29 - June 2, 2015.

The Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations: This award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation provides financial support for residents from underrepresented populations to attend ASCO’s Annual Meeting.