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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 have localised or metastatic malignancy and are in need of systemic therapy or to patients 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

The 2021 Medical Oncology Decision Aid was amended for clarity on 16th May 2023. Please use the latest version to support ongoing ARCPs.


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 current curriculum is as follows:

Medical Oncology 2021 curriculum

Medical Oncology Mapping of 2021 CiPs to previous curriculum competencies

The previous curriculum for Medical Oncology appears below:

Earlier 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

Forms and guidance

Rough Guide to Medical Oncology training

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 this webinar helpful. 

2017 Medical Oncology curriculum guidance

The document below provides guidance on implementation of the 2017 curriculum.


The Systematic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) sign off sheet below can be used to support DOST assessments of prescribing

Systematic Anti-Cancer Therapy sign-off sheet