DO's and Rad Onc

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by Su4n2, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    Hi, i was wondering if this field is open to DO's in terms of allopathic residencies in NYC and being able to get in since it is so small. can you also describe what the residency is like. thanx
     
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  3. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    If you do a google search using the words "radiation oncology" and "osteopathic" you'll find number of references to D.O.'s in the field. Try scrolling through the results and contacting one and ask about their experiences. I know of one radiation oncologist who is a D.O. on staff at UT SouthWestern Medical School in Dallas.

    For search results click here
     
  4. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    DOs can indeed get rad onc residencies.

    The residencies vary place to place quite a bit; its less homogenized than, say, internal medicine or surgery in terms of experience from one hospital to another. Some places are quite clinic dense, others suffer from a lack of clinical experience (Usually peds in particular).

    In general however, your day will involve consultations or follow-up visits. Generally you will have "on-treatment visit" days where you see folks currently under treatment and deal with any issues (ie nausea, skin care, questions in general) that need attention.

    Your day also will include patient simulation; that is the fluroscopic or CT (or even PET/CT) scaning of a patient in treatment position (which you determine) and outlining the field of treatment, with consideration of the beam arrangements. This of course can be something quite standard or more complex depending upon the clinical situation. Treatment planning includes delineating where "blocks" will be to protect normal tissue, the contouring of relevant organs (with grease pencil or electronically) again beam arrangement. Dosimetrists and physicists help out here.

    Brachytherapy cases are cases involving the interstitial implantation or intercavitary placement of radioactive sources. OR time is often used and again, there is simulation with the physicists as key players here.

    You will master a degree of medial physics and radiobiology as well as an encyclopeadic knowledge of oncology. It's a very academic field with great clinical, technical and lab research opportunities.

    Call is beeper call and what constitutes call for you depends on your institution. It can be very very light or more burdensome that you can initially appreciate after q4 nights on call in internship.
    Its a great fun field.
     
  5. Academic Radiation Oncologist

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    One of my previous fellow residents is a DO and she was one of the best residents who came thru' the program. She is also one of the best clinicians I have ever come across. She was highly sought after for various jobs on her final year of residency. There are also some world-class radiation oncologists who are DO's. I believe the acceptance to a rad onc residency is based solely on merits. The best way to buff up one's CV for a rad onc residency is to do research in rad onc and publish. It's important to do a rad onc rotation before you apply. It's best to do a rotation in a program you want to join and where you could get very good letters of recommendation. Good luck with your endeavors.
     
  6. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    Paul E. Wallner, D.O. is a prominant member of ASTRO.
     
  7. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    can i ask you a few questions about the field? i have heard that it is good money, lifestyle, residency w/less grueling hours- obviously all this is appealing. but what is interesting is that it appears that it is both clinical and procedural (sp?) i enjoy thinking about and trying to work out a problem , which would rule out half of the specialties cause i am not good with on the spot decision making. it also seems that this is a field that allows you to see clear results in patient treatment. also, my husband had cancer and he only had radiation, and it did the trick. can you guys tell me what attracted you to the field? thanx
     
  8. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    As you probably are aware, people arent generally offered a choice as to radiation or chemo or surgery as a mode of treatment. Generally they need a combination depending on the disease and the stage. Its not really a la carte treatment in the sence that one treatment universally surplants the other. Many folks-and doctors too- have a misconception about xrt. Well there are many misconceptions but my favorite is "isn't chemo therapy the new way to go?" and "will rad onc still exist in five years?" There is a woeful lack of understanding regarding the need for multidisciplinary treatment. For a doctor and an oncologist in particular, its unforgivable.


    However there is a lot of decision making to optimize treatment for a given patient, and there is a lot of clinical growth and research in the field, which is what I like about rad onc. I like clinical research and seeing patients over the long term which is what you get to do. In particular, you will make decisions with regard to need for radiation, options for approach (brachytherapy, xrt, combination, radionuclide, stereotactic, etc). You will make planning decisions (beam angles, normal tissue blocking. You will do small procedures in sarcoma and prostate and GU tumors (mostly). You can contribute to the optimization of these areas in terms of technique and also general approach to patient care in research. That's what I like about it.

    In retrospect, I also am very glad I didn't have to do 3 years of IM and then a med onc fellowship. Med onc was what I initially was thinking of but in hindsight, I have to say I am far happier in rad onc that I ever would have been in med onc. I like doing oncology in particular and med onc docs do wind up having to manage a lot of peripheral issues (managing edema etc). And not having to do floor time and the nonsence involved with it is very nice. All these things are perks I realized after the fact however. I enjoy the occasional "general Medicine" issue as it pertains to cancer patients when they come up (ruling out a PE or infection or managing dilantin or side effects) but I dont have to spend an inordinate amount of time doing that.


    Folks with an interest in medical physics and radiobiology will have extra reasons to be attracted to rad onc.
     
  9. Hookworm

    Hookworm Junior Member

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    Can I ask a few questions:

    1. Is research considered important in landing an Rad Onc residency? Should the research is related to radiation oncology, or any time of research is considered fine? I had extensive research on ovarian cancer and a few publications from this project. Would I be at disadvantage if I have no research specifically in radiation oncology?

    2. What is the typical cut-off Step 1 score for interview?

    3. Is AOA a significant factor?

    4. Rotation in radi onco is considered a plus or it won't make any difference?

    5. What is average compensation for radi oncology nowadays?

    Thanks.

    HW
     
  10. jdog

    jdog Senior Member

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    Boss,

    How can you do a residency in a field of medicine if you never do a rotation in it. Wouldn't that be like getting married to a woman you have never met??

    I have heard that Rad Onc is very connection heavy since it is such a small field.

    Research is very important.

    AOA is a big plus.

    Average salary is probably on par with he god almighty radiologist, but just a little less than pediatrics (just kidding, had to take a stab at my future specialty)

    My roomate is applying to Rad Onc and has tons of pubs and connections and even he is worried, so it is no easy task for Rad Onc
     
  11. digimon

    digimon Member

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    i dunno about your other inquiries, but i don't understand how one can pursue radiation without doing a rotation first. i too had some cursory exposure through ent-onc, gyn-onc, and surg-onc rotations, but i didn't get a good feel for the field until i did my first elective month in july. i'm currently doing another rotation and have an audition scheduled for october. i don't really have any problems with people going into fields purely for lifestyle considerations, prestige, whatever, but still don't understand how you can justify your decision in interviews, etc.
     
  12. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    Some comments.

    Yes AOA helps but lets face it; you get AOA from your academic profile which speaks for itself.

    Yes Research is important. Its not a necessity but trust me on this one, its of big help. Particuarly rad onc research.. or cancer in general. If you are a published author, great, and a first author even better. Frankly any resaerch is good, onco better, rad onc best. Actually youre rarely treat ovarian in rad onc but I doubt that will be a ding against you when looking at your CV.

    There aren't always formal cut offs so I hate to mention them at all; further more, strength elsewhere are overcompensate a mediocre USMLE. But if you twist my arm I'd say were seeing USMLEs about 230+. there is WIDE variation however.

    If you dont do a rotation in rad onc dont expect anyone to take you seriously. I know of no one who had the any inclination to interview or consider anyone who claimed to want to be a rad onc doctor who never even saw the field. Again, wanting a reasonable lifestyle is fine, but who would want to work with, train (or indeed be the patient of) anyone who doesnt seem to have a real interest in the field but just saw dollar signs in front of their eyes? Unlike Digimon, I think many docs will have a problem with folks who *purely* choose the field for lifestyle considerations. Emphasis on "purely".

    Consider picking a career with a reasonable life that you can say in all honesty you enjoy doing.
     
  13. mass51

    mass51 Member

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    Does anyone know about the radiation exposure risks in rad oncology. I would think that despite protective equipment, etc., there would still be exposure, particularly during procedures such as flouroscopy. Are there any additional protective measures for women docs of reproductive age? thanks.
     
  14. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    wow, this board is quiet.
    just following up on the topic that i started...
    have u guys seen DO applicants on your interviews? thanx
     
  15. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    we didn't see any th is year for interview. all allopaths.
     
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  17. stoleyerscrubz

    stoleyerscrubz Registered User and Stuff

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    What about this year?

    Thanks!

    :D
     
  18. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    i dont recall that Hopkins did. Don't hold me to that though.
    steph.
     
  19. Therese737

    Therese737 Member

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    Great, but the real question is how many DOs can get into such a competetive field when compared with MD students? I am not trying to belittle DOs-It was a route I was also considering, but after reading the books by Brian Freeman and Kenneth Iserson, it seems like DO's have difficulty matching in certain fields. Based on the statistics from the 2002 NRMP, there are very, very low %'s of DOs that match in Rad Onc (or several other specialties, for that matter).
    If that's the case, I may not even bother with the whole DO thing.

    Oh, and also, for those of you going into Rad Onc for the $$/lifestyle, plse think again. I hope that you go into it b/c you want to help those with cancer
    and truly care. Because if you don't, it WILL show.The last thing any cancer patient needs is some arrogant doctor who can't wait to "finish and go play golf".
     
  20. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    since i was the OP who at the time was interested in Rad Onc, let me address the previous poster. why do you assume that someone who is looking for a good lifestyle/$ is someone who won't care about cancer patienrts. how about someone who needs a good lifestyle b/c they have a family or needs to make a decent living b/c they are supporting their older parents? don't assume that these people only care about golf. oh, and about truly caring about people w/cancer, how is it different from the other specilialties. is caring about people with cancer suddenly holier than caring for Parkinsons, MS, Alzheimers? As physicians in training, i would hope that we show the same level of care and compassion for all our patients.


    su
     
  21. Therese737

    Therese737 Member

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    You can un-ruffle your feathers. I wasn't implying that other diseases are less important, which is what you seem to be accusing me of. My main point was that for the many out there who are just seeing dollar signs when they think of rad onc, they should think twice. Same thing goes for any doctor, whether generalist or specialist-there has to be more motivating you than making money. For those who have older parents, as you argue, or whatever their financial situation is-going into medicine isn't the only way to make a good living, and I can think of other ways to help take care of older parents!

    In any case, that was my opinion, and I am entitled to it.
     
  22. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    look, my point was that most of us that went into this profession truly care (to use your words). i was just saying that we will care about the cancer patients as we would about any other partients. as for the money thing, i was just pointing out that you don't always know the moivations of people.
     
  23. PublicHealth

    PublicHealth Banned
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    Ask this guy: http://www.stjude.org/faculty/0,2512,407_2030_3357,00.html
     
  24. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    A couple of things;

    first, please yes unruffle the feathers folks and be big boys and girls. wanting to live well is perfectly reasonable as anyone who must make their own income can tell you. And no in and of itself it doesnt conflict with being a good or great doctor, and no one here said it did. Please folks, youre going to be adults real soon. see the world as one. And if you can't remember to do that remember that if youre naughty and not nice to each other here Ill close the thread.

    Having said that
    I dont know how many DOs per year have applied to radonc so i cant tell you how many get it. Sorry I wish I could. Id imagine if youre a strong candidate you'll be taken seriously but what i would do is contact programs and point blank ask if its worth yourwhile as a do to apply.

    Finally if youre getting any radiation exposure during fluro, you've got a great law suit on your hands. You aren't in the room during the procedure. Brachy theapy is the highest risk and if youre pregant you probably wont be doing that. In general its a safe field.
     
  25. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    chief resident at SUNY Upstate is a DO as per astro, i don't know how current that is. i am posting this not to "show that DO's can get into rad onc" and have all those arguments, but for the DO students who may want to contact another DO in the field.

    http://www.astro.org/arro/students/programs/#NY
     
  26. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    good detective work; that is current as of LAST year (ie through JUly 04) so your DO chief probably has graduated. You'll note IM still listed as the Hopkins el Hefe.
    steph
     
  27. Su4n2

    Su4n2 Senior Member

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    thanx steph,
    i was actually looking up the zny programs for a friend. btw, i noticed that methodist has 4 residents per year, but iw asn't aware that they had a residency.
     
  28. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    yep. the only sgu hospiptal that does in fact. (in radonc).
     
  29. r90t

    r90t Senior Member

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    I met DO residents at Allegheny and Eastern Virginia.

    As a DO, I interviewed at MCV, USC, Allegheny, Eastern Virginia, Emory and Pitt. I had very short notice to interview due to our current Iraq conflict and most programs were already done screening their applicant population by the time I got mine in the mail.

    I start USC in 05.
     
  30. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    congrats. my friend just finished up usc; were you in the military (i cant see how the war would have effected interview otherwise). Good luck to you and enjoy!
    s
     
  31. navigator

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    Any successful DO matches this year?
     

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