Science Questions

How does one get into cancer research?

Sun, 6th Nov 2011

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Question

Nish Nayar via Facebook asked:

What kind of a qualification does one need to take part in cancer research?

Answer

Martin -   I think you need to follow your interest to start off with.  Of course, there's a very big route in from biology into cancer because of the basis of cancer, but there are many other areas that are involved in developing new ways to deal with cancer whether its physics, chemistry -  where were developing new drugs, engineering in terms of equipment and a lot of computer scientists.  There's a lot of epidemiology in cancer of course.  So, there are a very wide number of routes, but usually, you need to go through university training at some level and then there are a lot of different possible routes from then on.

Ben -   Kat, with your CRUK hat on, you must deal with an awful lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds.

Kat -   Absolutely, yes.  Cancer Research UK funds statisticians and epidemiologists - those are people who do very large population studies to find out what causes cancer.  We have people who are involved in designing clinical trials.  We have chemists who are designing potential new drugs.  All sorts of things, physicists, people doing weird computing stuff, all kinds of people are involved in the effort to beat cancer and do different types of cancer research.  That's not just about biologists or doctors.  There is a huge range of people and also, nurses as well.  Research nurses are really important for helping to run clinical trials.  So there's a route there through nursing and through the medical profession.

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