Radiation Oncology Personal Statement

Although many radiation oncologists believe it´s difficult to do humanitarian work abroad due to the importance of the costly and large equipment associated with this field, there are a number of opportunities budding radiation oncologist humanitarians can take advantage of.

Radiating Hope

Radiation Hope provides radiation equipment to developing countries. It´s a 100% volunteer-run, mountain climbing, cancer-cure focused nonprofit organization, whose mission is to improve cancer care around the globe. Here´s a video about how The Prayer Flag Project works. To join the 2016 Greater Horn Oncology Symposium, click here.

Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania

The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania (FCCT) was founded in 2013 to help
address the gaping need for cancer care in the east African country of Tanzania. A cancer diagnosis in Tanzania is likely to be a death sentence. The country currently has the capacity to serve about 15% of the nationwide cases of cancer each year. Many patients present far too late in their illnesses to receive anything more than palliative care.

The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania uses education, programs for prevention and screening, and services providing treatment and palliation to improve the lives of people with cancer in Tanzania. Working in partnership with regional and international partners, FCCT is building a comprehensive, sustainable cancer care system to serve cancer patients across the Northern Healthcare Zone of Tanzania.

The immediate objective is to build a brand-new medical oncology clinic at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi. In the long-term, FCCT plans to implement a “hub-and-spoke” model of care that delivers prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care options at every level of the healthcare system in this region. To find out about volunteering opportunities, check out this page.

International Radiology Exchange

This nonprofit Final del formulario

organization provides radiology interpretation and imaging expertise to humanitarian medical organizations as well as physicians in the developing world.

The group is comprised of subspecialized academic radiologists, private practice radiologists, radiology residents and fellows, other healthcare professionals and imaging technologists. They offer:

  • Interpretation of radiology studies from humanitarian medical organizations and medical missions abroad.
  • Interpretation of radiology studies for physicians requiring a primary reading.
  • Secondary consultations on studies obtained and reviewed elsewhere.
  • 3D reconstruction and imaging modifications for surgical planning, etc..
  • Education on imaging-related topics.

You can donate something to the organization or get involved by contacting them here.

Other Organizations

To find out more about organizations like Radiology Mammography International, join the Radiologic Philanthropy group, help RAD-AID.org, or see if you could be of assistance at Radiologists without Borders, follow the links to their sites or check out this list for more organizations.

Cancer in Developing Countries – The Facts

The Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology has come up with the following facts about cancer in the developing world:

  • Seven out of 10 cancer deaths across the world occur in developing countries.
  • Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis do.
  • 12.7 million new cases of cancer are detected every year around the world, and the majority of those new cases occur in developing countries.
  • People in developing countries lack access to radiation equipment. The equipment they do have access to is often old and insufficient.
  • In the US, there is approximately one machine for every 105,000 people and 2% of machines are cobalt. In Africa, there is one machine per 4.8 million people and 48% of machines are cobalt. In South America, there is one machine for every 640,000 people and 39 percent of machines are cobalt.

 If you´re like any help with your personal statement of purpose to get onto a great residency program, please let us know by email. Good luck.


          It turns out that flat feet and bad toes can teach you a lot.  Despite several years of dedication to ballet my hard work never really paid off in that field.  I never starred in Swan Lake and was never invited to tour with the prestigious American Ballet Company.  Yet, in many ways, those years of lessons, practices, successes and failures provide me with a meaningful context for the dynamics of the patient-oncologist relationship.  The critical juxtaposition of intellect and empathy required of oncologists greatly resembles a balancing act—one in which high levels of scholastic achievement and equally high levels ofcompassion are necessary to earn the trust of the patient. In Radiation Oncology, I have witnessed these oft-competing character traits and developed a profound respect for those who skillfully achieve that balance and effectively treat the whole patient.

I was initially drawn to oncology through my research at Large University.  As a research intern in molecular virology, I became increasingly interested in the role of proto-oncogenes in cancer. In my first year of medical school, my interests expanded to include the pathophysiology and treatment of human malignancies. Ultimately, however, it has been my work at St. Elsewhere Children’s Research Hospital that solidified my desire to become a radiation oncologist.  While researching late effects of therapy for childhood cancers, I worked with [sounds more active than simply shadowed] many of the oncologists at the hospital.  I was immediately fascinated by the ability of the radiation oncologists to form an individualized treatment plan by blending knowledge of the anatomy, pathology, histology, and stage of the disease with the patient’s treatment history and co-morbidities. As I watched an IMRT planning session for a patient with retinoblastoma, I knew how I wanted to practice medicine.

            Throughout my clinical years, I have continued my research at St. Elsewhere and have taken every opportunity to work with clinicians involved in all aspects of cancer treatment. Participation on Heme/Onc, BMT, and Gyn-Onc teams has allowed me to better appreciate the multi-discipline approach that is necessary for complete patient care.  I particularly valued my time with a pain management team and local hospice organization.  Working with both pediatric and adult hospice patients, I developed a new respect

for end-of-life issues as well as a desire to provide palliative care medicine.  I became comfortable discussing not only treatment plans with patients, but also their anxieties, reservations, and hopes. Through my Radiation Oncology rotations at the Cancer Center and West University, I was exposed to a diversity of patients and diagnoses unmatched by my previous clinical experiences.The rotations provided an opportunity for me to participate in procedures ranging from intraoperative partial breast irradiation to Cyberknife for an AVM.  I left each gratified to be part of a treatment modality that obtained surgeon-like accuracy with a comprehensive knowledge of cancer biology and basic science.
I chose Radiation Oncology because it is a specialty that balances the qualities I value most in a physician. It is an intellectually challenging discipline that requires a high level of independent thought and analysis as well as strong interpersonal skills.  Experiences in both the arts and medicine have helped me develop the ability to think abstractly, pay strict attention to detail, and effectively communicate with both patients and colleagues. A radiation oncologist must integrate a broad base of clinical knowledge across organ systems with the technical innovations of radiation therapy. My academic and clinical performances indicate I am up to that challenge.  Ultimately, both my dedication to intellectual development and warm bedside manner will enable me to be an integral component of a multi-discipline treatment team as well as provide compassionate care to my patients.


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