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Information for the Subspecialty Certification Program in Oncology

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This information sheet has been produced by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine for use by Diplomates who are applying for certification in Oncology. The purpose of this document is to provide general information concerning the Oncology Examination and instructions for completing the application.

Certification in Oncology is a program for certified internal medicine specialists, designed to recognize excellence among those who provide care in this subspecialty field. The program has two components:

A.     Satisfactory completion of two years of an AOA approved fellowship program in Oncology or Hematology/Oncology (all candidates who have completed at least three years of AOA approved training in a Hematology/Oncology program or a total of at least three years in separate Hematology and Oncology programs will be eligible to sit for both subspecialty examinations. Of the 36 months of training a minimum of 12 months must be spent in both hematology and oncology).
B.     Successful performance on a comprehensive, one-day written/clinical examination.


Internists must be certified by the AOA, through the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine, in internal medicine and complete a 24-month AOA approved program in the subspecialty. The following documents must be submitted with the application:
A.     Copy of the fellowship training certificate(Must be submitted by August 1);
B.     Completion of the Program Director's report form by the subspecialty Program Director;
C.     ACOI/AOA approval of the subspecialty training must be verified before certification is completed. If you have received a letter from the ACOI or AOA stating your "Program is Complete" enclose a copy of that letter with your application.

General Description:

This examination will be a proctored one-day examination consisting of multiple-choice questions of the "one best answer" type and matching type items. There will be a total of 300 items on the examination. The Oncology Subspecialty Examination will cover the broad aspects of oncology that internists practicing in oncology are expected to know. The major emphasis in this examination will be:

Drug metabolism and toxicity, treatment of tumor and drug related complica¬tions, predicting site of metastasis, surgical procedures of choice, cancer genetics, tumor markers, chemoprevention, biologic response modifiers, salvage treat¬ment, tumor histology, tumor syndromes, paraneoplastic syndromes, adjuvant chemo¬therapy, diagnostic radiology and radiotherapy as treatment, mechanisms of drug action, hormonal therapy, eponyms, prognostic factors, tumor stagi¬ng, selected tumors, (CNS, lung, colorectal, preleukemic syndromes and leukemias, lymphomas, gynecologic, trophoblastic, germ cell, breast, head and neck, thyroid, dermal, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, islet cell, sarcomas, ophthalmic, unknown primaries, prostate, bladder, paraprotein, special stains, familial cancers, etc), new agents for clinical use, laboratory diagnostic tools and their interpretation and coagulopathies.

Clinical situations involving diagnosis, etiology, prognosis and natural history of the disease, and management will be stressed. There will be clinically oriented questions with case history data included. There will be interpretation of visual material printed in the examination, which may include:

Interpretation of bone marrows, peripheral blood, lymph node histology, dermatologic abnormalities, imaging techniques (i.e., chest x-rays) and opportunistic infection specimens.

Oncology Blueprint

Content Area % on the Exam
Pharmacology/Cancer biology/cancer genetics 4
Breast tumors 7
Gastrointestinal tumors 8
Genitourinary tumors 12
Gynecologic tumors 5
Hematologic malignancies 17
Thoracic tumors 6
Skin cancer 3
Head and neck cancer 3
Pancreatic/liver cancer 4
Bone/soft tissue/sarcoma 3
Paraneoplastic syndromes 6
Supportive care/palliative/ethics 7
Chemotherapy toxicity 8
Prevention/screening 4
Opportunistic infection 2
Cancer trials 1
Total 100%

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