Living and Working as an Oncologist in France
Facts and Statistics
- Location: Western Europe
- Climate: Temperate
- Population: 65 million inhabitants
- Ethnic make-up: French 90%; Arab/North African 8%; Others: 2%
- Religions: Christianity 65%, Islam 7%, Judaism 1%, Atheist 25%, Others 2%
- Government: Republic
- Language: French
Studying medicine in France
Medical studies can be started after graduation from high school and cost about 500€ a year. They take 9-11 years depending on specialty (9 for general practice, 10 or 11 for other specialties). The studies include 3 cycles:
- PCEM (2 years): begins with a competitive exam after the end of the first year. The success rate depends on the regulation imposed by the government (usually only 30% of students pass). During the 2nd year, students only have theoretical lessons.
- DCEM (4 years): Students have both theoretical education and practical training in the hospital (every morning, starting on the 2nd year of this cycle, called “externat”). At the end the 4th year of DCEM (i.e. 6th year of medical studies), students pass a competitive exam. Depending on their ranking, they choose their specialty and the place of their residency
- TCEM (3 to 5 years): This phase is called “internat”. The residency is made up of rotations of 6 months in different hospitals (chosen by students depending on their ranking). To be fully graduated as a doctor in medicine (MD), residents have to defend a thesis
More information can be found on the following websites (not exhaustive information):
- Faculté de Médicine Pierre et Marie Curie
- Faculté de Médicine Paris Descartes
- Faculté de Médicine Université Paris Sud
What do I need to do to become an oncologist in France?
Option 1: To have studied in France
Option 2: Depending in which country one has done medical studies:
- European countries: individual request to the Ministry of Health
- Other countries: theoretical and practical examination, work for 3 years in public hospitals, agreement of a commission approval are needed
More details on these web sites:
- French Government diplomacy web site - Recognition of diploma
- French ministry of health and social affairs
- CNG - Institute in charge of theoretical examination
Are there any Oncology Societies in France?
- Institut National du Cancer – National Cancer Institute
- Société Française du Cancer – French Cancer Society
- Société Française de Cancérologie Privée – French Private Sector Cancer Society
Is it possible to do a fellowship in France?
France has several fellowship opportunities in different hospitals/institutions in the field of medical oncology. A few examples of institutions hosting fellows are (not an exhaustive list):
- Institut Gustave Roussy (Cancer Center in Villejuif, suburb of Paris)
- Institut Curie (Cancer centre in Paris) and Centre René Huguenin (Cancer centre in Saint Cloud in the suburb of Paris)
- It is also recommended to contact the head of department at the institute and ask them what the options are, since rules and opportunities vary depending on institutions - Click here to view the network of French cancer centres (clickable map).
French Society & Culture
France is a multicultural country, the result of different waves of immigration. The country prides itself in being the land of Human Rights. It is also a country of culture and history, dedicated to different forms of art with medieval cities and famous museums, both ancient and contemporary. Its various landscapes offer a wide range of sports, cultural activities and sightseeing opportunities, including worldwide-known cuisine. Although being a country of traditions, France is also focused on the future.