The specialty that may see patient loads fall

By 2045, the patient load per physician for gynecologic oncologists is estimated to fall 30%, MedPage Today reported March 18.

The findings were presented during the Society of Gynecologic Oncology annual meeting by Teresa Boitano, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The researchers used Census Bureau data and Cancer Statistics data to make age-specific projections for women through 2045, and age-specific incidence for uterine, ovarian, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers from 2010-2019.

It is projected that if trainee numbers remain stable, the annual new cancer cases per gynecologic oncologist would fall from 73 in 2025 to 51 in 2045, a 30% decrease, while the surgical cases would increase by 9% per fellow per year. If even one clinical fellow is added every year nationally, the new cases would fall to 47, a 36% decrease, and surgical cases could fall 13% if trainee numbers rise, according to the findings, which used Census Bureau data.

"This means on average, a gynecologic oncologist will see one patient a week with a [new] cancer diagnosis," Dr. Boitano said in the report.

Some experts suggested limiting fellowships for this field could be worth consideration. Gynecologic oncology is a small subspecialty, with an estimated 1,178 active providers in 2020, most of whom are in urban areas, according to the report.

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