A radiation oncologist is a medical doctor who has special training in management of patients with cancer, in particular involving the use of radiotherapy, as one area of their cancer treatment.
They also have expertise in the treatment of noncancerous conditions using radiotherapy. Radiation oncologists are responsible for monitoring the patient and organising imaging and other tests, in order to create and action a management plan for a patient.
Radiation oncologists work closely with other medical specialists, especially surgeons, medical oncologists and palliative care physicians, as part of a team caring for patients with cancer. Radiation oncologists also work closely with radiation oncology medical physicists and radiation therapists to plan and deliver radiotherapy.
Radiation oncologists have an important role in communicating with patients, their family members and other carers in the management of the patient’s cancer and overall care.
Radiation oncologists have overall responsibly for determining and setting the most suitable amount of radiation (from high energy X-rays, electron beams or gamma rays) to deliver to a patient and the way that this will be carried out.
Click on the video above which provides an overview of the role of a Radiation Oncologist.
Education and Training
Interest in mathematics, physics and biology
University study required and professional entry to the profession
Professional entry as a radiation oncologist in Australia involves the following;
- Completion of a degree in medicine
- Completion of at least two years of general medical intern/resident terms in the hospital setting
- Completion of the five year specialist training program for Radiation Oncology
All students and qualified professionals will be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency(AHPRA). All require a Radiation Use Licence from their local radiation health department.
Check with the Universities Admissions Centre for each university’s entry prerequisites.
Working Conditions and Salary Range
Radiation oncologists can work in either public or private practice. Salaries vary from State to State as Health is a State concern and not a Federal jurisdiction. The starting salary for a registrar is approximately $80,000. The starting salary for a qualified radiation oncologist is approximately $185,000 although there is significant variability across Australia. Further details regarding salary are available from individual departments and practices.