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For Immediate Release: April 5, 2008
Major Shortage of Oncologists Projected in United States
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Oncology care in the United States faces a major challenge: a severe shortage of oncologists. The projected shortfall ranges from 2,550 to 4,080 oncologists by 2020. And there’s more bad news. Demand for oncologist visits is expected to rise by close to 50 percent by 2020. That’s because an aging “baby-boom” population has an overall increased incidence of cancer.
A special session at the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ 34th Annual National Meeting April 2-5, 2008, in Baltimore, Md., will explore the state of the oncologist workforce.
"Just 503 fellows completed training to become medical oncologists in 2005," said presenter Clese Erikson, MPAff, associate director, Center for Workforce Studies, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). "And few medical college programs have plans to increase the number of oncology training slots between now and the 2010-11 academic year." Over half of the currently practicing oncologists are aged 50 or older, according to the "AAMC Report to ASCO [American Society of Clinical Oncology] on the Oncologist Workforce."
"Assuring access and quality care will require a concerted and multi-faceted effort and significant changes to the practice of oncology," said Ms. Erikson. She will offer strategies to increase the supply of oncologists and moderate the growth in demand.
There is a growing consensus that nation is likely to face a major shortage of physicians in coming years—a shortfall of 55,000 to 150,000 by 2020.