By The Numbers: 2020: The Oncology Shortage Doomsday

OBTN, March 2010, Volume 4, Issue 3

Although the latest supply and demand data for oncologists reflect a state of relative equilibrium, analysis of patient-visit data projects a shortage of thousands of oncologists by 2020.

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Although the latest supply and demand data for oncologists reflect a state of relative equilibrium, analysis of patient-visit data projects a shortage of thousands of oncologists by 2020. Contributory factors include the aging oncology workforce, limitations to expanding the oncologist pipeline, and major increases in oncologists’ primary treatment population: people aged ≥65 years. Barring revolutionary treatment changes, the 2020 oncologist shortfall looms as a potential disaster for US healthcare.

2020 Supply & Demand Factors**

20% Increase in total number of oncologists

14% Growth in oncologist visit capacity†

48% Increase in demand for oncologist services

2550 to 4080 Oncologist shortage in 2020

** Projections based on current cancer rates and delivery patterns applied to the expected US population in 2020.† Reflects the fact that a smaller percentage of the workforce will be in the prime productivity cohort (age 45-64) as older physicians age out of the workforce.