News | May 20, 2010

More Radiation Oncologists are Younger, Women

May 20, 2010 - Radiation oncologists are increasingly younger practitioners, and there is a larger number of women entering the specialty, according to a report released by The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO).

The SGO is an organization of board certified women's cancer specialists, has just released the results of a member-based, demographic and practice survey, "Gynecologic Oncology 2010: State of the Subspecialty."

Highlights from the survey include:

- a movement in the profession to younger-aged practitioners and a larger number of women entering the specialty;
- a shift away from private practice as the primary practice setting into salaried positions and an increase in group or multispecialty practice from individual practice;
- an increase in the number of medical assistants, nurse practitioners and physician assistants employed in gynecologic oncology practices;
- a continued dedication to providing chemotherapy services to patients regardless of the changes in reimbursement rates
- the continuation of enrollment of patients into cooperative studies versus the more revenue neutral or positive industry-sponsored trials;
- the positive effect of caps on non-economic and total damages on the cost of medical liability/malpractice insurance; and
- an overall willingness of gynecologic oncologists to accept and treat women with a gynecologic cancer without knowledge of insurance coverage and the preponderance of Medicare and Medicaid patients seen in a practice, versus private insurance.

"This is the most inclusive snapshot of the gynecologic oncology profession available," explained SGO Practice Survey Task Force Chairman James Orr, M.D.  "The information in this report is a useful tool not only to current, practicing gynecologic oncologists with regard to how their practice composition relates to their peers but also has important implications for individuals considering a career in this subspecialty."

He added, the report provides important information to medical schools interested in creating a specialty program and hospitals and health systems investigating the addition of specialized cancer care to their women's healthcare programs.

"The ability to compare and contrast the subspecialty's current climate with that of five years ago gives our profession a concrete idea to the trends in women's cancer care," concludes SGO President, Daniel Clarke-Pearson, M.D. "The study's findings offer a real indication of practice workforce needs, what is required of today's gynecologic oncologist, and a road map for where the profession is heading in the future."

The SGO is a national medical specialty organization of physicians who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract.  Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge which will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies, and cooperating with other organizations interested in women's health care, oncology and related fields.  The Society's membership, totaling more than 1,300, is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related medical specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists.  SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care.  More information on the SGO can be found at www.sgo.org.

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