Gynecologic Oncologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Gynecologic oncologists evaluate and treat cancer found in the female reproductive system. They can perform surgery, prescribe therapy and are responsible for related medical procedures. Gynecologic oncologists require eight years of education and training beyond a bachelor's degree and must earn a license to practice. Board certification is also available in the specialty.
Job Description for a Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic oncologists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in female reproductive organs. They're trained in a variety of diagnostic techniques and management procedures, such as surgery on reproductive organs, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. They can also perform medical procedures on non-reproductive organs affected by gynecologic cancer treatment such as the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.
Many oncology professionals work in private practices or clinics, but make regular rounds to their patients who are confined to hospitals. They can also teach in medical schools or perform research.
Duties of a Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic oncologists perform physical evaluations and collect detailed medical histories. In addition to medical duties, they educate patients and their families on various forms of cancer, possible progression and treatment options. Diagnostic techniques that can be employed include staining, tissue sampling procedures and medical imaging.
After identifying normal cells, benign conditions and malignancies, gynecologic oncologists develop a plan for treatment and therapy. Therapy options might include treatment of the related effects of cancer, like shock or renal failure. They could also incorporate nutritional aspects and blood transfusions into a treatment plan. They typically manage nurses and administrative workers, maintain medical records and refer patients to other medical specialists as necessary.
Requirements to Become a Gynecologic Oncologist
Like other physicians, gynecologic oncologists must complete up to eight years of combined undergraduate and medical school education. They can earn either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. After graduation, they must complete a 4-year general residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Following residency, they could continue their residency or seek a fellowship opportunity in general oncology or gynecologic oncology.
Licensure and Certification
Once a general residency is complete, aspiring gynecologic oncologists must pass a national medical licensing examination to practice in any state. Though not required, board certification is available in general obstetrics and gynecology through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Board-certified physicians can then complete a 3-year residency or fellowship in gynecologic oncology to qualify for certification in the subspecialty. Both certification options require applicants to take written and oral examinations (www.abog.org).
Career Info for Gynecologic Oncologists
Payscale.com reported a median salary of $252,861 for oncologists in general in November 2013. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 24% increase in employment for physicians overall throughout the 2010-2020 time period. Job prospects were expected to be best for those physicians specializing in ailments of the baby boomer population.
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