Medical Oncology

About the specialty: 

Medical Oncology concerns the specialised assessment and management of patients with cancer. Medical oncologists are trained to use systemic drugs in the treatment of cancer, and to administer these therapies to patients who either have localised or metastatic malignancy in need of systemic therapy or whose cancer has potentially been cured by surgery but for whom further adjuvant systemic therapy improves their outlook. The role of the medical oncologist is to discuss the treatment options with patients, supervise the therapy and manage any complications of disease and/or treatment that may arise. All such patient management is done in consultation with other clinicians within the context of multidisciplinary meetings and clinical networks.

Medical and Clinical Oncology (managed by the Royal College of Radiologists) are the two main medical specialities that actively manage patients with non-haematological malignancy. They often work in partnership, and both give systemic therapy to patients, but only the clinical oncologists administer radiotherapy and there are other differences in work-pattern, approach and focus.

Entry into Medical Oncology training is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme. There are two core training programmes for Medical Oncology training:

  • Internal Medicine Training Stage one (2 years)
  • Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM) (3 years)
Latest news and developments: 

New 2021 Medical Oncology curriculum

A new curriculum for Medical Oncology has been approved by the GMC and will be implemented in August 2021. Doctors in training will need to transfer to the new curriculum in August 2021 unless in their final year of training. Further information and guidance will be published on this page.


The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). The curriculum includes the assessment system for measuring trainees’ progress comprising workplace based assessment and knowledge based assessment.

Information on the Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in Medical Oncology can be found on the MRCP(UK) website.

The 2021 curriculum has been approved by the GMC and will be implemented in August 2021. 

Medical Oncology 2021 curriculum FINAL

Medical Oncology Mapping of 2021 CiPs to previous curriculum competencies

The previous curriculum for Medical Oncology appears below:

PDF icon 2017 Medical Oncology

Previous versions of the curriculum are no longer available online but copies can be requested from

ARCP Decision Aids: 

The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year.

2021 Medical Oncology ARCP Decision Aid

PDF icon 2017 Medical Oncology ARCP Decision Aid

Forms and guidance: 

Rough Guide to Medical Oncology training commencing August 2021

The rough guide to Medical Oncology training provides guidance on the practical aspects of implementing the new curriculum including transition guidance. In addition, you may find the following webinar helpful. 

2017 Medical Oncology curriculum guidance

The document below provides guidance on implementation of the 2017 curriculum and lists the changes to the previous version.

PDF icon Guidance on implementation of the 2017 Medical Oncology curriculum.pdf