WHAT IS PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY?
Pediatric Oncology is the study of cancer, and tumor growth in children, usually 16 years of age and under. Why is it important? Cancer is the leading cause of death in children up to 15 years of age.
Becoming an doctor in general is no simple task. In order to obtain the title “Pediatric
Oncologist” it takes over a decade of schooling.
More broken down it takes:
4 years to earn bachelors
4 years to acquire MD
4 years of residency/internship/fellowship
DEMAND IN THE FIELD
The demand for pediatric oncologists is generally high. With cancer killing more children than anything else, people who can treat this, and people who want to treat this are highly desirable.
Pediatric oncologists make approxiamently
$175,000 a year starting off. After years in the profession, they can make closer to the
This is a hefty salary keeping in mind that an average family of four only needs around
$50,000 to live comfortably.
To collect more information I talked to my best friend’s mother Susan Siemsen, who works as a physician’s assistant at Texas Oncology. Being a physician’s assistant means she has a lot of face to face time with patients and was able to answer all of the questions that I asked. The results were as follows:
What made you want to go into oncology? How do you deal with deaths if any?
What made me want to get into
“I was in Family practice for over 20 years and was disappointed in the way we were pushed to see so many patients per day. It was not about the patient any more, it was more about the money. I actually found my job in Texas with a head hunter on line. I was a little worried in the beginning about taking care of cancer patients. But once a realized what awesome , gracious, and thankful patients oncology patients were I was so excited to be helping them.”
2. How do I deal with deaths, if any?: “I do have to deal with losing patients and this is very hard because you become attached to many of the patients. By the end most patients are ready to go, they are in pain , weak and their treatment is not helping. We talk about comfort in the end and no pain and we do rely a lot on Hospice to help us.”
Are some clients difficult to deal with?
Do you ever regret your career choice?
3. Are the clients ever difficult?:
“Yes, some family members are very protective and they do not like to be told no, especially when there is no more treatment to offer. That is when they usually seek 2nd opinions at the
Cancer Centers of America, or
MD Anderson , or sometimes they even travel to Mexico for natural treatments.”
4. Do I regret my choice of a career?:
“No not hardly ever. Very few times have I wanted to go back to school to be a Physician, so I would not have the limitations I do as a PA. But I knew the cost would be a lot, time away from my family and my daughter and I felt it was not worth it. I also have more time with my patients because I am a PA, so that has kept me doing what I do and enjoying it very much.”
For a young person aspiring to join a career in the field, do you have any advice?
Does the workload and hours have any impact on the amount of time you get to spend with your family? 5. Advice for a young person wanting to be a PA:
“Try to take medical based classes and see if you like them; medical terminology, Human Anatomy,
Biology, etc. Try to work or volunteer and be involved in a clinic, hospital, or pharmacy. Even shadowing a PA will help you to decide if this is the career you would like to train in.”
6. Does the work load and hours have any impact on the time I spend with my family?: “YES, you have to always work to find a balance. Its hard, but it can be done if you have a good employer and Physician to work for!!”
Have you ever personally saved someone’s life?