New Study Shows Growing Shortage of U.S. Oncologists Poses Risks to Women’s Health

Analysis Identifies the 10 Major U.S. Cities Most Likely to Suffer a Shortage of Oncologists

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019 - Today Doximity, the largest professional medical network, released a new study that illuminates an emerging women’s cancer care crisis. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. for women, exceeded only by heart disease . Of those cancer deaths, breast and lung cancer are the top two deadliest for American women, making access to treatment a key concern for women’s healthcare nationally.

The demand for cancer treatment is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next six years and at the same time, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is projecting a shortage of more than 2,200 oncologists over the next six years. The 2019 Women’s Health and Oncologist Workforce Analysis assess which U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) will be most severely impacted by the coming shortage of oncologists.

Top 10 MSAs most likely to suffer a shortage of oncologists in the coming years:

  1. Miami
  2. North Port, Fla.
  3. New York City
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Washington D.C.
  6. Detroit
  7. Hartford, Conn.
  8. Buffalo, N.Y.
  9. Las Vegas
  10. San Diego

“Cancer is one of the most pressing health issues that women face nationally. One out of every 17 U.S. women will develop lung cancer over the course of their lifetime and one out of every eight will develop invasive breast cancer,” said Amit Phull, M.D. co-author of the report and Vice President of Strategy and Insights at Doximity. “If the growing shortage of oncologists is not addressed, it could have serious implications for large patient populations, especially in places where the shortages are predicted to be most acute.”

Additional Findings:

  • There’s an imminent wave of retiring oncologists: In several U.S. metros, there is a higher rate of breast and lung cancer among women, alongside a large number of oncologists nearing retirement age.
  • The metros with the highest percentage of oncologist who are 65 years old and older are: Miami; North Port, Fla.; New York City; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C.
  • Women on the east coast and in middle America hit hard with high rates of breast and lung cancer:
  • The metros with the highest number of women with breast cancer are: Buffalo, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Penn; Rochester, N.Y.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Hartford, Conn.
  • The metros with the highest number of women with lung cancer are: Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN; Syracuse, N.Y.; Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.; Winston-Salem, NC.; Knoxville, Tenn.

“By identifying where oncologist shortages may appear first, we can get a clearer view into how a shortage will impact local communities across the country; and particularly impact patients suffering from the most common forms of cancer,” said Christopher Whaley, Ph.D., lead author of the report and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

Read the full report here.


Doximity’s study is drawn from CMS data, board certification data, and self-reported data on more than 18,000 full-time, board-certified oncology practitioners. Responses were mapped across metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The top 50 MSAs which have the highest number of women with breast cancer were selected by the population of women above age 40, according to 2010 Census data. MSAs which have the highest number of patients with lung cancer across all ages were ranked by using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Doximity

Founded in 2010, Doximity is the leading digital platform for medical professionals. The company’s network members include over 80% of U.S. physicians across all specialties and practice areas. Doximity provides its verified clinical membership with digital tools built for medicine, enabling them to collaborate with colleagues, stay up to date with the latest medical news and research, manage their careers and conduct virtual patient visits. Doximity’s mission is to help doctors be more productive so they can provide better healthcare for their patients. For more information, please visit

Doximity Media Contact