Shortage of oncologists: the best and worst cities (2023)

WroteJennifer LW Fink, RN, BSN

Updated January 6, 2022

The shortage of doctors affects all specialties, including oncology. This presents great challenges for cancer patients and those who care for them. After all, access to an oncologist means access to evidence-based cancer treatment and professional help in dealing with the physical and psychological effects of cancer.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), there were 13,146 oncologists involved in active patient care in the United States in 2021. Some cities are associated with oncologists; however, 32 million Americans live in the county sBornoncologists. ASCO predicts a shortage of more than 2,200 oncologists by 2025.

Shortage of oncologists: the best and worst cities (1)


(Video) Crisis Point: Junior Doctor Diaries | Part 1 (Medical Documentary) | Real Stories

Why is there a shortage of oncologists?

(Video) Peter Attia, MD: How to Detect Cancer Early - Before it Spreads

The shortage of young oncologists is causing the impending shortage of oncologists.

According to ASCO, approximately 1 in 5 practicing oncologists is nearing retirement age—and only 14.5% of cancer physicians are early care oncologists. If current trends continue, more oncologists will be leaving than joining in the coming years.

Unfortunately, it is expected that the need for oncologists will grow, and that the number of doctors will decrease. Demand for cancer treatment is expected to increase by 40% in the coming years as the US population ages. According to NationalRakInstitute (NCI).

Shortage of oncologists: the best cities

(Video) How I Found Out I had LUNG Cancer During My Breast Cancer Treatment | Christine's Story

Some cities are better positioned than others to weather the falloutoncologistlack. According to Doximity, a professional medical network, those cities have the lowest risk of oncologist shortages, meaning those who need it are likely to have access to cancer care.

  • Orlando, Florida.Orlando, home to about 287,000 people, many of them immigrants, is expected to retain enough oncologists to meet demand.
  • Columbus, OH.Ohio State University's James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute, 1 of only 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, is located in Columbus. As well as the Columbus Cancer Clinic, the first freestanding cancer clinic in the state and the only remaining free cancer clinic in Ohio.
  • Nashville, Tennessee.Although best known as the "Music City," Nashville is a major health center. In fact, the healthcare industry is Nashville's largest and fastest growing employer, and the Nashville metropolitan area has the lowest percentage of oncologists age 65 and older in the United States.
  • Charlotte, NC.Charlotte-area oncologists have already made significant strides in improving access to cancer treatment. After realizing that the city's Hispanic community was underserved, Levine Cancer Institute doctors created and hosted breast cancer education programs in Spanish on local community sites.
  • Memphis, TN.In 2014, Memphis had the nation's highest breast cancer disparity rate. Local oncologists and other medical professionals banded together to make it easier for black women to get mammograms and treatment, and as a result, the cancer death rate decreased.

Shortage of oncologists: the worst cities

(Video) What is the average salary for a Hematology Oncology specialist?

These major metropolitan areas have a higher-than-average percentage of oncologists nearing retirement:

  • Miami.Miami's population has increased by nearly 20% in the last 10 years. But the high cost of living is driving away younger oncologists.
  • New York.NYC is home to some of the best cancer centers in the country, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Center. But demand for cancer treatment is outstripping supply.
  • Angels.LA has a high percentage of oncologists age 65 and older, meaning the metro area will likely experience a shrinking supply of cancer doctors in the coming years.

The high demand and shortage of young oncologists means there are many opportunities for young doctors to open a practice in Miami, NYC or LA. Local oncologists are also working to develop strategies to meet residents' cancer care needs and to support physicians working in the area.

(Video) Top 10 Places For Physicians To Live In America


Is there a shortage of medical oncologists? ›

The oncology workforce shortage poses a significant challenge for all practices, but particularly for nonacademic institutions, according to experts with whom Healio | HemOnc Today spoke.

What is the projected shortage of oncologists? ›

Without consideration of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), overall demand for oncologist services is projected to grow 40% (21,255 FTEs), whereas supply may grow only 25% (18,997 FTEs), generating a shortage of 2,258 FTEs in 2025.

What is the future supply and demand for oncologists? ›

The study found that the United States will likely face a 48% increase in demand for oncologist services by 2020—in large part because of the expected 81% increase in cancer survivorship and the 48% increase in cancer incidence caused by the aging of the population.

What percentage of oncologists would have chemotherapy? ›

Among oncologists/hematologists, 64.5% said that they would take chemotherapy, as did 67% of nurses.

What are the biggest problems in oncology? ›

Upon hearing a diagnosis of cancer, the patient is faced with a multitude of issues. In addition to the medical and logistic details described previously, major concerns include fear of death, disfigurement, pain, disability, infertility, dependency, abandonment, altered relationships, and financial hardship.

What state pays oncologists the most? ›

Hourly rates for oncologists in the US typically range between $63 and $323 an hour. The average oncologist salary is $220,841 in Alaska, $219,531 in North Dakota, and $214,329 in Montana.

What age do oncologists retire? ›

This survey also showed the expected retirement age for respondents was 64.3 years.

How old are most oncologists? ›

Oncologist Age
Oncologist YearsPercentages
40+ years72%
30-40 years26%
20-30 years1%
Sep 9, 2022

What is the future trend for oncology? ›

The future of oncology will be shaped by precision medicine and better technology. Gene therapy, machine learning, and reimbursement changes will modify how community oncology programs function. In addition, many oncology centers will need to adopt new measures to manage patients who expect to be treated as consumers.

How many patients do oncologists see a day? ›

Respondents' primary medical specialties were hematology/oncology (65%), medical oncology (33%), or “other” (2%). They saw a median of 20 patients per day and had been in practice for a median of 18 years. Less than half (41%) were participating in the value-based Oncology Care Model.

Is oncology a stressful job? ›

If you are a physician, you have probably experienced a fair share of stress and burnout throughout your education and training, along with your job as an attending. Medical oncologists are at a higher risk of burning out on the job.

Is oncology a growing field? ›

The oncology market continues to expand at a rapid pace. Experts expect ongoing increases in cancer diagnoses over the next 10 years.

How much money do doctors make prescribing chemo? ›

For many medicines, you see, oncologists receive a 6% markup, meaning when they infuse a patient with a $10,000 monthly course of chemotherapy, their practice yields an extra $600. By contrast, if the practice treated that patient with a generic chemotherapy, they'd be out most of that extra money.

What is the average age of an oncology patient? ›

According to the most recent statistical data from NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, the median age of a cancer diagnosis is 66 years. This means that half of cancer cases occur in people below this age and half in people above this age.

Do oncologists get paid for prescribing chemo? ›

This is not to say that oncologists do not make money by providing chemotherapy. The average “margin,” the extra amount of dollars that chemotherapy in the outpatient setting is charged, is between 4 and 6 percent.

Why is being an oncologist hard? ›

Oncology is a challenging specialty, especially because you must participate in a fellowship program after residency to become an oncologist, in most cases.

What are red flags for oncology patients? ›

Skin changes such as a rash, dimpled skin or skin reddening. Changes to your nipples such as dryness, leaking or inverted nipples. Pain, swelling or any changes to your breast. Blood in your poo or wee.

What are the 3 major areas in the field of oncology? ›

The field of oncology has 3 major areas based on treatments: medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology.

What type of oncologist makes the most money? ›

High Paying Oncologist Jobs
  • Hematologist Oncologist. Salary range: $391,500-$400,000 per year. ...
  • MOHS Surgeon. Salary range: $120,000-$400,000 per year. ...
  • Radiation Oncologist. Salary range: $400,000-$400,000 per year. ...
  • Surgical Oncologist. Salary range: $285,000-$350,000 per year. ...
  • Pediatric Oncologist. ...
  • Oncology Social Worker.

Who are the richest oncologists? ›

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the oncologist known as the world's richest doctor, has spent the last decade quietly plotting a big change in the way cancer is treated.

How much does a top oncologist make? ›


How long do oncologists work a day? ›

Oncologists worked an average of 57.6 hours per week (AP, 58.6 hours per week; PP, 62.9 hours per week) and saw a mean of 52 outpatients per week.

Is an oncologist a hard job? ›

Oncologists have the very difficult job of treating patients with cancer. Although many oncologists find the career rewarding, it is also very demanding and challenging. Because of the incurable nature of the disease, oncologists are often required to give patients difficult news regarding their illnesses.

Why do oncologists stop chemo? ›

Complications such as jaundice, sepsis or occlusion, often observed during the evolution of digestive cancers, are important reasons for discontinuation and could explain our shorter time from chemotherapy discontinuation to death, compared to other oncology subspecialties.

What personalities do oncologists have? ›

Oncologists tend to be predominantly enterprising individuals, which means that they are usually quite natural leaders who thrive at influencing and persuading others. They also tend to be artistic, meaning that they are creative and original and work well in a setting that allows for self-expression.

Do oncologists get depressed? ›

They've been trained not to ever show any weakness, and they think of mental health issues as weakness.” Oncologists, who frequently deal with death and distressed patients and family members, may be especially prone to depression.

What are the advances in oncology 2023? ›

“One area to watch for new developments in 2023 is the dynamic monitoring of the whole cancer journey, from detection to interception to monitoring of resistance in metastatic cancer, using new technologies, such as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and other circulating biomarkers.

What are the trends in oncology 2023? ›

Approximately 2 million new cancers are expected in 2023, with prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer (CRC) as the leading diagnoses in men (combined 48%), and breast, lung, and CRC accounting for 52% of diagnoses in women.

What is replacing the oncology care model? ›

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new, voluntary alternative payment model, which will replace the Oncology Care Model (OCM) that ended on June 30. The OCM's successor, known as the Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM), will begin next year on July 1, and run for 5 years.

Why are people interested in oncology? ›

Oncologists have a deep desire to change the course of the disease for patients with cancer; cure where possible and when a cure is not possible to extend and improve the quality of life remaining and provide effective palliation of symptoms. This was my motivation for considering a career in Oncology.

What is the average number of patients for an oncologist? ›

Practice-average established patient visits must have been reported and averaged between 1,000 and 8,000 per hematologist/oncologist.

Where do most oncologists work? ›

The Bureaus of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the most common places oncologists work include: Doctors' offices. General medical and surgical hospitals. Federal agencies (National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc.)

What are the burnout rates in oncology? ›

This investigation found the rate of burnout to be 56% among all 598 respondents, and specifically 58% for adult medical oncologists. Of interest, university-based oncologists reported a lower incidence of burnout (47%).

Is it worth it to become an oncologist? ›

Being an oncologist offers several personal and professional rewards such as saving lives, advancing the field of medicine, gaining prestige and living a comfortable lifestyle. Although there are pros and cons to oncology, such as years of rigorous study, many doctors find this career worth it.

What are the challenges of working in oncology? ›

Unfortunately, challenges to a robust oncology nursing workforce include nursing shortages, recruitment barriers (eg, perceptions of a demanding specialty with complex care and hazardous work environments), and burnout.

What degree is best for oncology? ›

A doctorate of medicine or osteopathy

An oncologist may pursue either type of doctorate. After approximately four years of medical school, a student earns the doctorate they chose to pursue. Then they apply for and complete a two-year to five-year-long oncology residency.

What is the largest oncology GPOs? ›

AmerisourceBergen Specialty GPOs is the largest specialty group purchasing organization in the oncology field.

How profitable is oncology? ›

Sales Revenue From Cancer Drugs Has Doubled Among Top Pharmaceutical Companies in the Last 10 Years, Exceeding $103 Billion USD in 2019. Key Points: Revenues from the sale of oncology drugs increased by 96% over the past decade, from $52.8 billion USD in 2010 to $103.5 billion USD in 2019.

Do doctors get a kickback for prescribing drugs? ›

It is illegal to pay or receive “kickbacks” in conjunction with federal health care insurance. Prohibitions against kickbacks are crucial to ensure that financial motives do not undermine the medical judgment of physicians and other health care providers.

Do doctors make money from prescribing pills? ›

Under this statute, it is illegal for a physician to receive remuneration for referring a patient for a service that will be paid in whole or in part by a federal health care program or for prescribing or recommending the purchase of a drug that will be paid in whole or in part by a federal health care program.

Do doctors get kickbacks for prescribing statins? ›

Ornstein continued, "It's illegal to give kickbacks to a doctor to prescribe drugs, but it is legal to give money to doctors to help promote your drug. Some doctors make tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year beyond their normal practice just for working with the industry."

What is the age limit for chemotherapy? ›

It is important to remember that chemotherapy can be a treatment option for patients of any age. Older adults have distinct needs before, during, and after chemotherapy treatments.

What are the stages of oncology? ›

Stage I: The cancer is localized to a small area and hasn't spread to lymph nodes or other tissues. Stage II: The cancer has grown, but it hasn't spread. Stage III: The cancer has grown larger and has possibly spread to lymph nodes or other tissues. Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other organs or areas of your body.

Is oncology a demanding job? ›

Being an oncologist is a highly demanding and challenging job, but it can also be very rewarding.

Is chemotherapy paid by Medicare? ›

Medicare covers chemotherapy if you have cancer. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. covers it if you're a hospital inpatient. Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

Do oncologists get bonuses? ›

Oncologist Compensation Methodologies. The basic compensation methodologies found in oncologist-hospital alignment relationships are (1) a fixed salary, (2) productivity-based compensation, or (3) performance-based bonuses.

What medical specialty has a shortage? ›

Surgical specialties' supply threatened

And these shortages are severe in some rural areas,” Dr. Orlowski said. The AAMC report indicates that under even conservative scenarios, the surgical specialties shortfall will reach at least 25,200 by 2025 but might hit 33,200.

What medical specialities have the most shortage? ›

Here's the projected shortage of physicians by specialty through 2025:
  • Orthopedic surgery: 5,050.
  • Urology: 3,630.
  • General surgery: 2,970.
  • Cardiothoracic surgery: 1,800.
  • Gastroenterology: 1,630.
  • Hematology/Oncology: 1,400.
  • Pulmonology: 1,400.
  • Neurosurgery: 1,200.
Jan 31, 2022

How competitive is medical oncology? ›

Oncology fellowship programs are highly competitive and require a high level of dedication to attend. Once you've completed your oncology fellowship, you can complete the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) exam for board certification.

What is the average age of retirement for oncologists? ›

This survey also showed the expected retirement age for respondents was 64.3 years. We know now that one in five U.S. oncologists is 64 or older. Oncology is a long-learned craft, and most of us enjoy the combination of patient care and new developments in the field.

What is the most underpaid medical specialty? ›

Specialities with the lowest compensation:
  • Pediatric endocrinology — $218,266.
  • Pediatric infectious disease — $221,126.
  • Pediatric rheumatology — $226,186.
  • Pediatric hematology and oncology — $237,005.
  • Pediatric nephrology — $238,208.
  • Pediatrics — $242,832.
  • Medical genetics — $244,107.
  • Pediatric pulmonology — $263,742.
Mar 23, 2023

What is the hardest specialty in the medical field? ›

Neurosurgeons can directly touch, alter, and enhance the central nervous system. Though it has one of the most difficult lifestyles, as one might be summoned into a hospital at the last minute to save someone's life, it is an intellectually stimulating and fascinating field with an exciting career.

Which doctor specialty is in highest demand? ›

Top 13 In-Demand Medical Specialties in India
  • Orthopedics.
  • Internal Medicine.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Dermatology.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Radiology.
  • General Surgery.
  • Ophthalmology.
Feb 24, 2021

What is the most respected medical specialties? ›

The Top Most Competitive Specialties in Medicine
  • Dermatology.
  • Orthopedic Surgery.
  • Neurosurgery.
  • Thoracic Surgery.
  • Urology.
  • Vascular Surgery.
  • Interventional Radiology.
  • Diagnostic Radiology.
Sep 11, 2022

What is the least competitive medical specialty in the US? ›

Least Competitive Residencies
  • Family Medicine. Family medicine is one of the most common medical specialties. ...
  • Pediatrics. Pediatrics is the branch of medicine dedicated to the care of infants, children, and teenagers. ...
  • Psychiatry. ...
  • Internal Medicine. ...
  • Anesthesiology.
Nov 29, 2022

What type of oncologist makes the most? ›

High Paying Oncologist Jobs
  • Hematologist Oncologist. Salary range: $391,500-$400,000 per year. ...
  • MOHS Surgeon. Salary range: $120,000-$400,000 per year. ...
  • Radiation Oncologist. Salary range: $400,000-$400,000 per year. ...
  • Surgical Oncologist. Salary range: $285,000-$350,000 per year. ...
  • Pediatric Oncologist. ...
  • Oncology Social Worker.

Is it stressful to be an oncologist? ›

Medical oncologists are at a high risk of burnout. It is esti- mated that 45% of oncologists in the USA are experiencing burnout [1]. A stressful job paired with having seriously ill patients, who are going through a terrible time in their life dealing with their cancer, makes this profession much more intense.

Is oncologist stressful? ›

If you are a physician, you have probably experienced a fair share of stress and burnout throughout your education and training, along with your job as an attending. Medical oncologists are at a higher risk of burning out on the job.

What is the healthiest age to retire? ›

67-70 – During this age range, your Social Security benefit, if you haven't already taken it, will increase by 8% for each year you delay taking it until you turn 70.


1. Why UK Doctors Should NOT Go to Australia | The Ultimate Guide
(Kiran Morjaria)
2. ESPEN Short Oncology Guideline
(MNI Medical Nutrition International Industry)
3. How Doctors Tell Patients They're Dying | Being Mortal | FRONTLINE
(FRONTLINE PBS | Official)
4. Meet leukemia oncologist Nicholas Short, M.D.
(MD Anderson Cancer Center)
5. ACWA JPIA: Carrum Health Oncology and Surgery Benefit
6. High Chemo Costs with Oncologist Dr. Mark Lewis | Knock Knock, Hi! with the Glaucomfleckens
(Dr. Glaucomflecken)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 04/20/2023

Views: 6497

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.