Mark McDonald, MD
Undergrad Institution; Degree and Major:
Xavier University - Bachelor of Arts in English
The Ohio State College of Medicine and Public Health
Where and for how many years did you train AFTER medical school?
5 years at Emory University (1 year preliminary internal medicine, 4 years radiation oncology)
In practice since:
Radiation oncology, with a focus on proton therapy and treatment of brain and spine tumors and head and neck cancers
How did you choose your Specialty?
I did not rotate through radiation oncology until my fourth year of medical school, but like so many who go into our field, I knew very quickly that radiation oncology was the perfect match for my interests. I enjoyed other areas of medicine but radiation oncology was the only field I could imagine myself in long-term.
What do you like MOST, and like LEAST, about your specialty?
Most: Radiation oncology offers a terrific mix of patient care, technology, and procedures that adds variety to your work. You can develop meaningful and longitudinal relationships with many of your patients. A lot of laughter and more than a few shared tears with my patients over the years have taught me many life lessons and been the source of my greatest personal fulfillment from being a physician.
Least: Radiation oncology is a small field and often poorly understood by our colleagues, especially since few people have exposure to it in medical school. While this can make the field seem special or intriguing, it can be an impediment to collaboration or marginalize the role of radiation, which is an increasingly powerful and flexible tool in cancer care.
In your opinion, what attributes are important in anyone choosing this specialty?