Subspecialty and Combined Training Careers

Although this section of IMpact explores the subspecialty and combined training careers of internal medicine, it's worth emphasizing what makes internal medicine unique. Internal medicine physicians see things differently. Holistically. And in a unique way that allows them to analyze, lead, and humanize health care in a variety of different settings and roles. See all the career opportunities internal medicine can provide.


The Discipline

Medical oncology is the internal medicine subspecialty which involves the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant neoplasms. Internists practicing oncology (“oncologists”) typically assist general internists and other physicians in identifying individuals at risk for malignancy and investigating clinical symptoms and syndromes suggestive of underlying cancer. In patients with a diagnosed neoplasm, oncologists frequently undertake the care of patients with solid and hematologic tumors to attempt a cure or to prolong life and/or palliate symptoms.

Oncologists may practice in a dedicated oncology group, managing patients along with other physicians. Many oncologists provide consultative services to both other physicians and medical institutions. Oncologists, particularly those in academic settings, may engage in basic science and clinical research and teach medical students and residents.

Oncology is frequently coupled with training in hematology in a combined hematology-oncology fellowship program. This dual training prepares an internist to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of related diseases.


Medical oncology fellowship training requires two years of accredited training beyond completion of a basic internal medicine residency, while dual certification in hematology and medical oncology requires three years of combined fellowship training.

Following completion of fellowship training in oncology, trainees are eligible for certification in oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Training Positions

In the 2022-2023 academic year, there were 3 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in medical oncology with 10 trainees. In the combined program of hematology and medical oncology, there were 184 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs and 2,110 trainees.

Major Professional Society

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology

See all the career pathways open to internal medicine physicians.

Back to the May 2023 issue of ACP IMpact