Introduction to Radiation Oncology
Day in the life - Rad Onc

A Day in the Life of a Radiation Oncologist



Why Radiation Oncology?

  • Provides an excellent mix of technology, developing technology, research, education and patient care

  • Radiation cures and palliates, involves all populations and demographics

  • Provides the opportunity to be involved with patients and families at a critical point in their lives





Radiation Oncologists are involved in patient care, administration, education and research. It is not unusual for any given day to include varying degrees of all of these areas of work.





Clinical Work

  • Outpatient care - cancer clinic new consults and follow-ups

  • Radiation treatment prescription and planning

  • Monitoring of patients during treatment, including phone calls with patients, care-givers and primary care providers

  • Inpatient - care of their own patients and providing consultations on other patients in hospital who may benefit from radiation treatment, as well as receiving patients in transfer from regional hospitals

  • Team meetings - interprofessional team and tumour boards




  • can be in any of the spheres - clinical trials, education scholarship, health systems research, epidemiology




  • personal, departmental, university as well as involvement with provincial and national organizations



  • Teaching undergraduate medical students

  • Teaching and mentoring Radiation Oncology and off-service residents

  • Education of patients

  • Education of other health professionals and members of the cancer care team




Education and training 

Following medical school Radiation Oncology training is completed during a 5 year Primary Certification Programme

  1. 1 year basic clinical

  2. 4 years radiation oncology

  3. further subspecialization within radiation oncology


Benefits of a career in radiation oncology

Radiation oncology is a good career choice for people interested in:

  • technological advancements

  • balance of technical skills and patient care

  • interprofessional team

  • objective results

  • academic discipline


When considering a career in Radiation Oncology the following might be of concern to you:

  • work is dependent on a technological infrastructure

  • tertiary care based

  • on a global scale radiation treatment is not consistently available

  • emotional impact of working with people with cancer


How to get more exposure to radiation oncology?

Radiation Oncology may not have been familiar to you before beginning medical school. If you are interested in learning more, an elective is a great way to learn about all of medicine and explore the possibilities of radiation oncology specifically.


The Virtual Experience in Radiation Oncology - VERO has been created by educators, medical students and radiation oncology professionals at the University of Toronto.

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