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M4 elective: Heme-Onc vs. Cardiology

Micro115

M4
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2008
42
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Iowa
  1. Medical Student
    I'm applying for a gen surg residency and read on other posts that one of the recommended M4 electives is cardiology. I have the option of taking cards but was also wondering whether heme-onc might be useful for surgical oncology in the future. I am not particularly interested in pursuing surg onc (or cardiothoracic surgery) as a career but would still like to enter intern year with a broad base of information. Looking back, does any resident or attending have advice on which one to take? Thanks!
     

    jc7721

    Member
    10+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Sep 14, 2003
    128
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    1. Attending Physician
      At my med school we had a general med onc rotation, which I took as a 4th year elective. It was a broad exposure to oncology, and we had lots of breast and renal cell. While medicine style rounds can be painful no matter what specialty you do, at least the discussions on oncology frequently centered around treatment options which were ofter surgical. Everything has its pluses: I had friends who matched into surgery that took ID, cards, pulmonary, GI, pretty much everything.
       

      filter07

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      Aug 30, 2006
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      1. Attending Physician
        I did GI but I wish I took Cardiology. Being very comfortable with arrythmias, EKGs, and peri-operative risk stratification are some of the benefits of cardiology. I think any subject could be useful, but cardiology is probably the most useful for day-to-day things. Heme-Onc would be good from a knowledge base perspective but I don't think it will help you take care of post-op patients, which is primarily what you'll be doing as an intern. Most of the important aspects of heme/onc will be picked up during residency, since many Oncology rotations will have multidisciplinarry conferences.
         
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        I'm applying for a gen surg residency and read on other posts that one of the recommended M4 electives is cardiology. I have the option of taking cards but was also wondering whether heme-onc might be useful for surgical oncology in the future. I am not particularly interested in pursuing surg onc (or cardiothoracic surgery) as a career but would still like to enter intern year with a broad base of information. Looking back, does any resident or attending have advice on which one to take? Thanks!

        I did GI but I wish I took Cardiology. Being very comfortable with arrhythmias, EKGs, and peri-operative risk stratification are some of the benefits of cardiology. I think any subject could be useful, but cardiology is probably the most useful for day-to-day things. Heme-Onc would be good from a knowledge base perspective but I don't think it will help you take care of post-op patients, which is primarily what you'll be doing as an intern. Most of the important aspects of heme/onc will be picked up during residency, since many Oncology rotations will have multidisciplinarry conferences.

        I agree with filter07 in that cardiology would likely be more useful for you early on. One of the most frequent calls that I received as an intern was that Mr. So and So went into A-fib. What orders do you want? If you don't learn anything else, you would be exposed to treatment of arrhythmias, screening for surgery and the scope of treatment for cardiology. Knowing when to consult Cards is handy too.

        The surgical treatment of oncology patients will involve surgery and surgical technique, something that you are going to get loads of experience with anyway. The medical treatment of Oncology patients will largely not involve you as a surgical resident (other than tong-term vascular access).
         

        Bitsy3221

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        10+ Year Member
        Sep 28, 2006
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        The Hub
        1. Resident [Any Field]
          My medical school had a requiring 4th year Oncology rotation, which included time with medical, surgical and radiation oncologists. Honestly one of the most useful parts of that experience was working with the rad onc folks, so if you do decide to do oncology, see if you can't spend a little time with them as part of it.

          I did a 4th year elective in Nephrology, which I also found very useful, as a fair number of our patients take a hit to the kidneys at some point. It was a good review of acid base physiology, and it was a nice to learn the different types and indications for RRT.
           

          Micro115

          M4
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          Aug 20, 2008
          42
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          Iowa
          1. Medical Student
            Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments! Now I see how helpful Cards has been for surgery residents.

            I'm also planning to take a Medicine Sub-I later in the year and was wondering, based on Bitsy's post, whether any of you surgery residents think Nephrology would be more helpful to take than a Medicine Sub-I. I think that I would get a little bit of managing a-fib, kidney problems, etc. during the sub-I so I can't go wrong with it. Any ideas, though?
             
            I agree that Cards would be more helpful for a G Surg resident.

            Personally I did a Nephrology rotation since I wanted to bone up on my acid-base and fluids/electrolytes knowledge. I did it early, in July, so that I could also take Step 2 CK and CS.
             
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