Status of oncologic specialties: global survey of physicians treating cancer



In the United States, medical oncologists play a central role in the management of systemic therapy for cancer patients. Medical oncology as a specialty is not as established in Japan and several other European nations according to recent surveys, and little is known about this specialty in developing nations. We aimed to identify global differences in the roles of physicians treating cancer; specifically, how the management of advanced disease differs among nations.


In March 2016, a self-administered internet survey was conducted with degreed physicians who prescribed systemic agents for adult cancer treatment within the past 5 years. Physicians were identified from the American Society of Clinical Oncology active member online directory.


Among 3907 members in 55 nations, 376 (9.6%) responded to the survey. The 310 respondents who provided an answer to the recognition of medical oncology were dominated by male MDs that have practiced for more than 5 years at academic centers, and ~60% were medical oncologists. A majority of the respondents in all four regions reported that medical oncology was established in their corresponding nations. However, there are several outlying nations where oncologic specialties play a minimal role in the management of systemic therapy.


Despite general recognition of medical oncology, the role is not globally established as the primary point of care for delivery of systemic therapy. Nations lacking this specialty should be assisted by the international community to develop medical oncology.

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Int J Clin Oncol

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