Advances in treating cancer have resulted in a greater number of cancer survivors, but they will also put a strain on the capacity to deliver oncology services in the future. Demand is projected to increase 48 percent by the year 2020.
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center say that the demand is fueled by the aging of the baby boomer population (of which oncologists themselves are a part), the age-sensitive nature of the disease, and the increase in the number of survivors. Add to the equation the current number of training positions and the time and resources needed to expand the supply of oncologists and it would appear that the United States is unlikely to be able to meet the future demand with the expected supply of oncologists.
Source: Erikson C, et al. Future supply and demand for oncologists. J of Onc Pract. 2007;3(2):79–86.
Chart by Julie Ridge