Oncologist Job Description


Oncologists are physicians who have specifically tailored their career to diagnose and treat patients suffering from varying types of cancer.

Typically, they're tasked with leading a team of medical professionals and coordinating the proper treatments to provide comprehensive care for individual patients.

Physicians may specialize in three different areas: medical oncology, surgical oncology, or radiation oncology.

Medical oncologists typically use imaging technologies, such as MRIs and CT scans, as well as biopsies, to properly diagnose patients and determine a course of treatment.

Surgical oncologists are tasked primarily with removing tumors and radiation oncologists treat the patient with radiation therapy.




Responsibilities may vary depending on specialty, but common duties include:

  • Collecting medical histories of patients.

  • Performing physical evaluations and administrative tasks, like maintaining medical records.

  • Coordinating with other medical professionals to offer the best care possible for the patient.

  • Performing diagnostic procedures using MRIs, x-rays, and biopsies to determine the existence and extent of cancerous tumors.

  • Creating a treatment plan, typically comprised of radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery to combat cancers.

  • Performing bone marrow transplants.

  • Providing supportive care to patients, including prescribing drugs to fight pain, inflammation, nausea, and fatigue.





Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.


Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 


Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.


Working Conditions


Most oncologists are employed in hospitals, clinics, and private practices and work long hours. They're typically on call 24/7, which can be physically and emotionally draining.

Those employed by health networks enjoy more stable hours than those working in private practices.




Salary Outlook