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Oversaturation in Oncology Pharmacy?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by oelizas, Apr 15, 2017.

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  1. oelizas


    Apr 13, 2017
    hSDN Member
    (I originally asked this in hSDN, but someone suggested that I repost my question here because it wasn't getting answers. I'm sorry if the second part of my question doesn't belong here, I can edit it out if needed.)

    Hi, I am currently a junior in high school and I am interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy. I would really love to work in a career that involves the treatment of cancer, so oncology pharmacy in particular has appealed to me. As I've been researching the field, I have seen many members advising against going into pharmacy because of "degree mill" universities and oversaturation in retail. I know that if I went into oncology pharmacy, I would be working in a more clinical setting (like a hospital or cancer center) and I would more specialized (after residency programs). To me, it seems that this would limit the competition when applying for jobs, however I am still concerned about the job's outlook for the future. I am also unsure of how difficult it is to secure PGY1 and PGY2 residencies, but I imagine that there is a lot of competition.

    Is oncology pharmacy truly as overpopulated and competitive as retail pharmacy seems to be?
    If so, what are some other careers in oncology that would allow me to carry out similar daily tasks (going on rounds, advising patients, cancer treatment, etc)? Oncology is definitely my preference, but I have also looked into other fields like dentistry/orthodontics and PT. I have also considered becoming a medical oncologist. Would any of these fields be more practical?

    Of course, I know that any medical field is going to be very competitive, my main concern is the issue of oversaturation that seems to be prevalent in retail pharmacy.

    Regardless of what medical field I'm going into, I am currently planning to get my bachelors in biology (cellular/molecular if the college offers it) and I am completely open to any amount of further education or training that may be needed. Thank you to anyone who can help!
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  3. rawlithium

    rawlithium 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    You will definitely need to do a PGY2 residency for oncology pharmacy. Right now it doesn't seem to be that saturated. I had a friend who got a job right out of residency. She will work part time at a clinic and part time as adjunct faculty at a school that is affiliated with a clinic. However, in 10+ years if you become a specialist in oncology pharmacy, the future seems really unclear.
    Ash2021 and oelizas like this.
  4. Apples2Oranges


    Feb 18, 2017
    Oncology is not saturated as of right now, but it is competitive. And from the looks of it, I think you would be more satisfied pursuing the medical field than pharmacy if you want to avoid retail altogether. You're taking a big risk doing oncology pharmacy because the chance of you getting into it are slimmer than other options. That's not to say you won't get it. But there are easier ways to get into this path.

    If you are smart and desire a less stressful lifestyle, dentistry and orthodontics seem like good choices. Orthodontics is EXTREMELY competitive, but you're pretty golden once you manage through. I know the orthodontics program at UNC take only the top 5-10% of each dental class. The orthodontists I know work 3-4 days a week with set hours.

    If you love biology, go for the major. But that major is really boring, and it doesn't stand out very much against other applicants. Then again, you are only in high school and a majority of people I know in college have changed their majors several times with the same intentions of going into healthcare.
    oelizas likes this.
  5. AsuPharm

    AsuPharm 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Do 2 years of residency, deferring your loans and you TOO could have a part time job! Great plan.
    oelizas likes this.
  6. oelizas


    Apr 13, 2017
    hSDN Member
    Thank you for your response! Right now I'm definitely thinking that I'll go the pre-med route, then re-evaluate (for nursing or maybe dentistry) during college if my GPA and clinical experience isn't up to par for medical school.

    I really love biology, so I think that I will plan for that major, at least for now. You're right though, if my major is anything like career decision, I'm sure that I will change my mind.
  7. Depmonce1133


    Nov 14, 2017
    The only reason why dental might not be good is because it's too expensive. (in comparison to other programs), but honestly most of my friends who were pre meds/health who went into pharm kind of regret it. Unless you're like at a top 10 university, but they just seem disappointed. Oncology pharmacy is good I suppose but even those people till probably learned more in their 2 years of residency about oncology than their 4 years in Rx school. So to say you want to do this is kind of premature. I'd focus on identifying where you'd be best situated, like med, pa, pt.
  8. Modest_anteater


    Nov 12, 2017
    I would go into radiology science instead and become a Tech
  9. PharmDBro2017


    Dec 1, 2015
    You may think you love cancer/oncology, but learning about oncology drugs is vastly different imo. I'd wait until you are actually in Pharmacy School and learning about oncology drugs to decide about doing a residency, much less PGY2 in Onco. You also need to sit and crunch the financial numbers thoroughly before deciding on residency or spending two years in residency... 150-200k in student loans at 7% interest and then you want to wait another 1-2 years to do actual work? You're looking at $30-40/day accumulating in interest alone after graduation. I hope that terrifies you. Waking up each morning and being -$40.00 in the hole before I even get out of bed and buy a coffee... that is scary.

    It is great to have goals (long term ones are important... but you're at least 7-10 years away from PGY2), don't get me wrong. Your longish term goals should be securing a seat in Pharmacy school, getting As in Pharmacy school, and then during that 3-4 years decide if PGY1 is right for you.
    heartxoxo likes this.

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