MuDPhuDShane

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I am an MD/PhD student and am certain I want to pursue rad onc... How much of an advantage does having a PhD confer in terms of matching for a residency?

My doctoral resesarch will be in tumor biology, but not necessarily rad onc. I may have time to pick up a smaller auxilary project with one of my school's radiobiologists during my research phase--is this necessary? In other words, is rad onc research valued significantly more than just onc research?
 

Gfunk6

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A PhD is a huge advantage. If you look at the list of those who matched this year (look for the RadOnc directory thread below), you'll see that ~26% of were MD/PhD. No field has a % of PhDs this high.

Rad Onc research > Onc research > other basic research >> clinical projects, in general.

Radiobiology work is highly valued, if you can pick up a project and publish a basic paper that would be huge. If your publications are high caliber (e.g. Cancer Res, PNAS, Oncogene) or truly ground-breaking (e.g. Cell, Science, Nature) then the kind of research you do matters less, though you should at least be able to apply an oncologic spin to it.
 

Thaiger75

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And let me add that yes, it is highly valued...for academic programs (ie. Chicago, Michigan, MDACC, etc). For those programs that are primarily clinic-oriented...not so much.
 

Gfunk6

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Though I respect Thaiger greatly, let me offer a slightly differing opinion. Please keep in mind that this is only the experience of one applicant, but . . .

I was invited to interview at a lot of programs that are not academic powerhouses and, in fact, were not prepared to give me substantive time during residency for bench research endeavors. This led to some seriously awkward moments during interviews which made me wonder why they extended me an interview invitation in the first place.

My point is that given how competitive things have become, a PhD (to quote SimulD) has become a proxy for academic success and/or a "supposed" predictor of future academic potential. Even the smaller RadOnc programs would like to produce graduates that go into academics and pursue clinical research to expand/improve the field.

As a side note, I was pretty unequivocal in my personal statement that I wanted to do basic research in addition to seeing patients. Personally, I don't believe I misled programs re: my intentions.
 

libaobao8

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Gfunk6 said:
A PhD is a huge advantage. If you look at the list of those who matched this year (look for the RadOnc directory thread below), you'll see that ~26% of were MD/PhD. No field has a % of PhDs this high.


26% MD/PHD is impressive. I suspect that Rad Onc applicant pool may have a higher % MD/PhD as well. It'll be interesting to see the diffenence between % MD/PHD applied and % matched.