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Questions from a Medical Student

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by California, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. California

    California Senior Member
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    Since I am beginning my first year of medical school this fall, I am curious to know how long (in terms of years) does it take to complete a Radiation Oncology Residency? Also, are there many MD/PhD individuals who are also radiation oncologists?

    I am at the point in my life where I am trying to figure out whether pursuing a PhD along with an MD is worth the time and if Radiation Oncology is a good field to be a part of with both degrees. Any information, insight, or advice on the subject would be very helpful. Thank you in advance for your time.

    Oh, one last question. What is a good resource on the Internet to find out more about a Radiation Oncology Residency? Perhaps, a search on Google?
     
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  3. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    Rad onc requires one year of internship (transitional or IM usually but others can be done) and 4 years rad onc.

    There most certainly are MD/PhDs.
    Here comes the controversy:
    While an MD/PhD is great in that your education is paid for and in that it makes you more attractive as a residency applicant, I feel that it is quite useless from a career practice standpoint. Particularly in rad onc where lab work is wide open to get into if you like, and in fact there is the Holman Pathway which gears MD folks interested into the lab as part of the rad onc training.

    I've had PhD's get very annoyed with my position on this, but 4 years into my training, nothing has changed my mind and in fact aside from the perks I mentioned, which by the way come along with extended schooling, I'm even more of the belief that most of the time people waste time getting both degrees as usually they settle for one or the other in their professional life. The one doc in my deparment who actually does both actively is an MD only; the Md/PhD's dont touch the lab. MInd you not having loans is very very nice.


    When you ask about finding out more about rad onc residency, in what manner do you mean? Generally? A specific program? You might start with www.radiotherapy.com.
     
  4. California

    California Senior Member
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    I was just looking for a resource on the Internet that would provide general information about what a career as a radiation oncologist would entail.
     
  5. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    One way to start might be to look at patient oriented material. To give you an idea of what's done. With respect to the "what its like to be a rad onc doctor", that's why I was hoping this forum would go up; there is precious little info out there. But if you find something, please let us know.
     
  6. MacGyver

    MacGyver Membership Revoked
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    If having the PhD is irrelevant to rad onc and there is absolutely no benefit to either the individual or the program, why are they favored in the match over regular MDs?

    That doesnt make any sense to me.
     
  7. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    Not everything that makes you an attractive candidate is actually useful or applicable in any direct sense. Sometimes its more of a character or general ability issue. (think of all the nonsense that goes on medical school applications and CVs because it is supposed to make you "look good".) PhD candidates are attractive from a matching perspective because getting the degree shows hard work, dedication and experience and interest in research. All of that suggests a good and productive resident/future attending. But to practice rad onc and indeed to become a leader in basic sci in the field you dont need a PhD. In fact there is a research path way called the Holman pathway that will be specifically designed to get you lab experience in rad onc. And you dont even need this if you want to do research, though it facilitates things.

    By all means, if being a PhD is attractive to you, go for it. I merely think that students should be aware the issues as they pertain functionally to their career, and not just how it seems they should.
     

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