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Confused about oncology careers

Still studying A-levels, but i have a general plan of doing cancer biomedicine at ucl and then oncology phd (prob at ucl aswell)

My ideal profession would be to go into research or perhaps work medically as an oncologist, however ive been told that specialising this early will not allow me to do this and rather i should go to medicine first and then specialise.

Just want to clear this up to know exactly what can i do with the path ive thought of and if i should change it
If you want to work with patients, ie as an oncologist, you need a medical degree. If you want to work in research only then a BSc, MSc, PhD would be the path you’d take. If you want to work in both you still need to start with a medical degree, and then later on in your career you’ll be able to undertake a PhD.

You need to decide whether you want to work with patients or not first, as that’ll determine whether you do medicine or not.
Original post by 5igh
Still studying A-levels, but i have a general plan of doing cancer biomedicine at ucl and then oncology phd (prob at ucl aswell)

My ideal profession would be to go into research or perhaps work medically as an oncologist, however ive been told that specialising this early will not allow me to do this and rather i should go to medicine first and then specialise.

Just want to clear this up to know exactly what can i do with the path ive thought of and if i should change it

Hi! I currently study cancer biomedicine BSc at UCL. I intend to do a PhD after this and work in cancer research. If you want to work as a clinician however then you should study medicine. UCL offer a really good iBSc in Oncology which you can do during your medical degree if you're interested in becoming an oncologist. If you want to do a PhD in oncology then you could do a PhD after your medical degree :smile:think about whether you want to do research, medicine, or both research and medicine together. Happy to answer any questions about the course!
Reply 3
Original post by emmacharl
Hi! I currently study cancer biomedicine BSc at UCL. I intend to do a PhD after this and work in cancer research. If you want to work as a clinician however then you should study medicine. UCL offer a really good iBSc in Oncology which you can do during your medical degree if you're interested in becoming an oncologist. If you want to do a PhD in oncology then you could do a PhD after your medical degree :smile:think about whether you want to do research, medicine, or both research and medicine together. Happy to answer any questions about the course!

Thanks i'll have to think about whether to choose only research or both,

Generally I'd like to ask what made you pick the course, whats the day to day experience like, and what is the future career prospectus after a oncology phd
Original post by 5igh
what is the future career prospectus after a oncology phd

I’m currently doing a cancer bioinformatics PhD, and the main piece of advice I give to everyone considering research is to get as much experience as you can before deciding on it as a career. Often people have a different view of what research is compared to the reality of it. Unfortunately it’s not just doing research, it’s supervising students, writing grant proposals, writing papers etc. You have to very accepting of rejection in academic research because you will get rejections from grants and papers very frequently, even the best of the best do.

Get as much experience as you can in a research group whilst you are doing your undergrad degree, and be aware of the realities of research. During a conference at my institute a couple of months ago PhD students were asked whether they intend to stay in academic research after they graduate - over 75% said they weren’t.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by 5igh
Thanks i'll have to think about whether to choose only research or both,

Generally I'd like to ask what made you pick the course, whats the day to day experience like, and what is the future career prospectus after a oncology phd

I knew that I wanted to go into cancer research after undergrad, but was stuck between choosing one of my offers for biomedical sciences or UCL's cancer biomedicine course. I was wary about specialising so soon, but it's honestly fine. In first year, we do all modules (except cancer medicine in society) with all other courses in the faculty of medical sciences, so you cover all foundations you need in general physiology (i.e you don't really specialise at all). Second and third year modules see you specialising a bit more, but in any other biomedicine course you would also be picking modules and starting to narrow your interests down anyway so I don't see it as restrictive, as long as you have an interest in learning about cancer biology. The shared first year means that they're very flexible with allowing you to switch between any medical sciences courses, so if you decided at any point in first year that you wanted to not learn about cancer specifically anymore then you could switch to applied medical sciences for example. Studying in the Cancer Institute department is really amazing as the staff who teach you work in research or as clinicians, so their careers advice and teaching is so valuable.

A typical week would be: 2 hour lab on Monday, 3 hour lecture on Tuesday, 2 hour lecture and 1 hour small group teaching on Thursday, 3 hour lecture on Friday. For this course you have to do a lot of independent lecture prep though (the content is basically taught to you online in videos and quizzes, then the lecture is building on what you've learnt by applying knowledge to clinical cases or questions and allowing you to ask questions to the professors). You have lots of free time for societies as well so you can explore other academic or extracurricular interests very easily.
Original post by emmacharl
I knew that I wanted to go into cancer research after undergrad, but was stuck between choosing one of my offers for biomedical sciences or UCL's cancer biomedicine course. I was wary about specialising so soon, but it's honestly fine. In first year, we do all modules (except cancer medicine in society) with all other courses in the faculty of medical sciences, so you cover all foundations you need in general physiology (i.e you don't really specialise at all). Second and third year modules see you specialising a bit more, but in any other biomedicine course you would also be picking modules and starting to narrow your interests down anyway so I don't see it as restrictive, as long as you have an interest in learning about cancer biology. The shared first year means that they're very flexible with allowing you to switch between any medical sciences courses, so if you decided at any point in first year that you wanted to not learn about cancer specifically anymore then you could switch to applied medical sciences for example. Studying in the Cancer Institute department is really amazing as the staff who teach you work in research or as clinicians, so their careers advice and teaching is so valuable.

A typical week would be: 2 hour lab on Monday, 3 hour lecture on Tuesday, 2 hour lecture and 1 hour small group teaching on Thursday, 3 hour lecture on Friday. For this course you have to do a lot of independent lecture prep though (the content is basically taught to you online in videos and quizzes, then the lecture is building on what you've learnt by applying knowledge to clinical cases or questions and allowing you to ask questions to the professors). You have lots of free time for societies as well so you can explore other academic or extracurricular interests very easily.

Hi! :smile: I know this post is old lmao, but I'm confused whether I should apply to cancer biomed at UCL or not. UCL recently updated their biomed degree requirements, so I'm looking at alternatives. Is the course entirely flipped learning? I don't want to pay so much for glorified videos and e-modules.

I'm not too keen on anatomy either, and from what I've seen, the course has a lot of that. How difficult was it?

What's lab like?

Thanks! :smile:

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