Resources for Residents
As a resident, you may have decided to specialize in oncology or you may be undecided and looking for resources as you explore career options in the field. Wherever you are in the process, ASCO is dedicated to supporting your educational needs. By specializing in oncology, you will enter into an exciting and rapidly growing field that offers expanding opportunities in research and interdisciplinary care. A career in oncology also promises a rewarding relationships whether you decided to contribute to the field in private practice, academia, industry or government.
ASCO offers residents free membership and access to numerous educational and training resources, such as the ASCO University Tumor Boards and the ASCO Journal Club.
Finding an Oncology Training Program
Applying to Oncology Training Programs
Each of the oncology specialty areas has a different application process and timeline. A few specialties do share the commonality of using ERAS and participating in the NRMP matches. However, each process is overseen and/or administered in some way by a separate entity. Get more information about your discipline's subspeciality:
ASCO plays an active role in the application process through:
- Sponsorship of medical oncology and hematology/oncology (with the American Society of Hematology)
- Participation in the Medical Specialties Matching Program
The application process runs from July of your PGY 2 when ERAS opens for residents to begin working on their applications. Residents can submit applications starting in November. Programs begin receiving applications on December 1. The process concludes the following June, with the MSMP Match for Fellowships beginning the following July. Fellowship programs generally accept applications through January and conduct interviews in February-April. Exact dates vary from program to program
Radiation oncology residencies are five years long. Some institutions devote the first year to general medicine. Others ask that the resident apply to a separate internship at this time. Radiation oncology residencies participate in a formal Match program.
For more information about radiation oncology residencies or to search a list of programs, please see the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology.
Fellowship training in gynecologic oncology is accredited by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). All fellowship programs require a minimum of three years of training. Approved fellowship programs cover the following curricula: pathology; physiology & patho-physiology; carcinogenesis, invasion and metastasis; genetics; statistics and experimental design; tumor immunology; chemotherapy; pharmacology; radiation therapy; organ-specific diseases and therapeutic options; surgical procedures; and palliative care.
Upon graduation from fellowship, fellows are eligible to sit for both the required oral and written exams. Completing these exams leads to fellows’ certification in gynecologic oncology.
Since 2006, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) has sponsored the fellowship match on behalf of participating ABOG-approved gynecologic oncology programs. The match is conducted by the NRMP Specialty Matching Services. Fellowship applications are accepted through the ERAS system.
Fellowship Program Application Timeline:
Application Submission: Fellowship applicants may begin applying to gynecologic oncology programs via the ERAS system beginning December 1. Applications are accepted until May 31.
Fellowship Interview: Conducted between June and September.
Match: Conducted in November.
Training Begins: July
For more information, visit the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's website.
Urologic oncology fellowships are officially certified by the Society for Urologic Oncology (SUO). However, these fellowships do not lead to a separate board exam.
The goal of advanced training in urologic oncology is to build on the knowledge, skills, and expertise acquired during a urology residency program.
The fellow should develop exemplary skills in:
- The planning of multidisciplinary approaches to patient care.
- Basic and clinical scientific research methodologies.
The SUO accredits two-year fellowships in urologic oncology. Fellows must devote 12 months of their fellowshipto clinical work.
Most graduates of formal urologic oncology training find positions within a private practice setting, where over 40% of the practice is related to cancer. For more information about urologic oncology or to find information on fellowships, please visit the Society for Urologic Oncology.
Surgical oncology fellowships are reviewed and approved by the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO). Surgical oncology fellowship programs strive to expand the basic surgical knowledge and experience obtained during residency. The goal is to develop skilled surgeon-investigators who will become recognized experts in the field of surgical oncology. Physicians who are interested in fellowship training in surgical oncology can participate in the Match program. The match program is conducted in the fall.
Surgical oncology fellowship interviews are typically held in late summer and early fall. For more information about surgical oncology fellowships, or to obtain a list of programs, please visit the SSO.
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.
- Participate in a research endeavor during medical school or residency. When reviewing applications, fellowship program directors often look for candidates who have this experience.
- Some degree of academic pursuit is desirable, whether you seek an academic career or a career in practice.
- 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.
Oncology is at the leading edge of the new age in molecular medicine. This makes all fields of oncology among the most exciting in medicine.
ASCO is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who treat people with cancer. As such the Society is committed to:
- Advancing the education of oncologists and other oncology professionals
- Advocating for policies that provide access to high-quality cancer care
- Supporting the clinical trials system and the need for increased clinical and translational research
The ASCO Annual Meeting attracts more than 30,000 attendees. Considered the premier educational and scientific event in the oncology community, the meeting represents the blend of science and patient care inherent to oncology. Visit ASCO's Virtual Meeting for links to sessions from this and other thematic (GU Cancers/GI Cancers/Breast) meetings.
The ASCO guide, Achieving Career Success in Oncology, discusses many of the early career decisions oncologists will face. It also provides career development advice as well as strategies for success. Young oncologists can use this information when deciding between academia, community practice, pharmaceutical industry, or federal government.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about participating in ASCO or attending ASCO meetings.
ASCO Annual Meeting
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.