A new study reveals that over 70 percent of young cancer doctors, also known as oncologists, in Europe are showing signs of burnout.
Authors of the study believe that even though Oncology is an extremely rewarding career, it has many challenges a doctor has to face on a regular basis, which can make them feel stressed.
A group of researchers with the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conducted the survey. The researchers were able to get responses from 595 oncologists in 41 European countries, who were under 40 years.
The study found that about 84 percent of the oncologists located in central Europe reported fatigue related to their career. However, the study also found that just over 50 percent of oncologists in Northern Europe reported symptoms of burnouts.
Dr. Susana Banerjee, a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust in London, who is the lead author of the study, revealed that oncologists have to make difficult decisions related to cancer management regularly. The oncologists also have to supervise therapies, meet patients who are suffering or even dying and work long hours.
Dr. Banerjee revealed that the survey comprised of a number of question related to factors that can lead to tiredness and burnouts amongst the cancer specialists. Some factors include: inadequate personal time or vacation, reduced work-life balance, relationship issues, workplace problems, deficiency of support service and a high number of cancer patients.
The authors believe that burnouts should not be treated as weakness of a doctor and colleagues should come forwards and help their fellow doctors to recover from burnouts. Dr. Banerjee also suggests that burnouts can have serious consequences and can result in depression, anxiety, substance abuse and in some cases suicide.
"I believe as a profession, doctors have a duty to try and address this growing issue at all levels --from universities, individual hospitals and professional societies such as ESMO," says Dr. Banerjee.
A healthy work-life balance will assist oncologists to feel less stressed as it gives an opportunity to discuss work related stress with their partners, spend time with family and friends, and get involved in hobbies.
ESMO Young Oncologists Committee suggests that even though it is an important issue faced by many oncologists, the findings of the study is not meant to discourage people from becoming medical oncologists.