The medical specialty of Oncology focuses on diagnosing and treating cancer. Prevention has been another area focused on by this specialty in recent years. Oncology can be broken into radiation oncology and medical oncology. A single patient may need treatment from each of these specialties depending on the seriousness of their case. Radiation, medicine, and surgery can all be useful during treatment and recovery. Oncologists may also choose to further their specialization to focus on one type of cancer. Currently, there are more than 20 areas an oncologist can specialize in. Examples include gynecologic oncology, pediatric oncology, and hematology-oncology.


Depending on the type of oncology a medical graduate is looking to specialize in, he or she must complete five years in residency. The first few of these years will be in internal medicine. Between 2018 and 2019 there were 28,420 internal medicine residency positions offered. Of these spots, 11,051 were filled by IMGs.

A more specialized program would follow the internal medicine residency. Those interested in radiation oncology would participate in a radiation oncology residency. Medical oncology hopefuls would participate in a medical oncology residency. Between 2018 and 2019, there were 774 radiation oncology residency positions offered. 17 of these spots were filled by IMGs. This same year there were 39 medical oncology residency spots offered. About 54 percent of these spots were filled by IMGs. More information on residency match rates can be found on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s website, here.

Practicing as a Physician

According to the American Society of Oncology, there were about 12,100 oncologists practicing in the U.S. during 2016. The average salary for an oncologist from 2018 to 2019 was $359k, ranking oncology as the twelfth highest paying medical specialty.

Are you interested in a clinical experience in oncology? AMO is offering a handful of clinical experiences in this specialty. Click here to create an account and check them out!