What Is An Oncologist?
An oncologist is a medical doctor who specializes in cancer treatment. They are specialists in treating various types of cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, melanoma, brain tumors and many others. There are different levels of expertise within the field of medicine. Some doctors specialize in one type of cancer while other have specialties such as cardiology or orthopedics. Doctors with these kinds of backgrounds may treat different types of patients but they all work together to try to cure the patient.
The term “oncologist” comes from the Greek word meaning “cancer.” These doctors use various methods to fight off cancer cells. One method involves chemotherapy which kills cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alive. Another way is radiation therapy where radioactive material is used to kill cancerous cells without killing any healthy ones. A third method is surgery where certain parts of the body are removed to destroy cancerous cells.
How Much Does an Oncologist Make?
Salary for an oncologist varies depending upon their experience level and education. Salaries range from $200,000-$400,000 per year according to various sources. Most doctors start out at around $150,000 per year before they advance up the ladder. According to the bls.gov website, average salaries for doctors in 2016 ranged from $177,700 for pediatricians to $199,000 for pathologists. The average salary for radiation oncologists is $265,000 and those working in the field of medical oncology earn an average of $247,000.
Becoming an Oncologist
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become an oncologist. The first step is to have a strong interest in science, biology and medicine which usually begins at an early age. Many future doctors begin to shadow their local family doctor or pediatrician during high school and college to gain real life experience. After getting accepted into a medical school, students spend the next four years learning about various diseases, treatments and new medicines as well as classroom work. During this time they also gain hands on experience through working at hospitals and clinical rotations.
Once this is completed they must then take and pass the Medical License Exam as well as the written test.
After doing all this, doctors are eligible to take the Oncologist Certification Test which certifies them to practice as oncologists.