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For any of those deciding where to apply last minute this weekend, just wanted to add to the discussion of RO seen on some other threads given they mostly mentioned the ON spots left. The MB program is a small tight knit group of usually about 7-8 residents, most of whom are explants coming from out of province (we have residents who have relocated from BC, SK, ON, NS, and other countries) and who have made a life out here in Winnipeg! We also have had transfers from IM and surgical specialties. We have a great track record on the Royal College exams, and have had residents get jobs directly out of residency, and fellowship offers from PMH (Toronto), Western, etc. We have 1 of 3 gamma knifes in the country that we operate with our neurosurgery colleagues, and also an EDGE linac in our new SRS radiosurgery suite that we use for spine and lung SBRT, among other disease sites. We have ongoing research looking at using Calypso beacon tracking on our EDGE. We have a large catchment area of about 1.2 mill that includes Nunavut, Eastern SK and northwestern ON so definitely no shortage of interesting cases. Overall a solid program with a good track record, in my opinion. Obviously less popular due to location, considering most people in the country are from GTA or GVA :). However we did fill our typically 1 spot first iteration the last 4 years in a row! This year is kind of an anomaly having 2 spots, and a much lower applicant pool than previous years. 

With respect to moving go MB: The winters are cold, but we have tunnels directly from parkade to hospital so no need to be outside much ;). When you do want to get out in winter, we have a beautiful skate way along the Red River and skating rinks at the forks that doubles a cool art installment with various "warming huts" designed by artists. Some residents even skate to work at St Boniface hospital from Osborne village! The restaurants are also warm in winter, and the food is fantastic in Winnipeg. From homestyle authentic Danish cuisine at Bistro Dansk, delicious Georgian food at Saperavi, various markets such as La Grotta (Italian) and Greek Market, to the Winnipeg original FatBoy chili cheeseburgers found at all the best greasy spoon mom and pop joints... Winnipegers love their food. We have many restaurants that have been featured on "You gotta eat here!" We also have some pretty cool microbreweries including Trans Canada Brewing Co. and Nonsuch, to name a couple. In addition we are about 30 minutes from Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg (a gorgeous huge white sand beach, it is 30+ degrees and sunny most of June-September in Winnipeg) and about 1 hr from the Whiteshell provincial park full of gorgeous lakes, cabins/campsites and some pretty great hiking in the Canadian Shield. So although for most of January you will curse the -20 while plugging your car in... nothing beats a prairie summer in my opinion. 

In closing, I will quote this beautiful post from the user Sauna, who articulated perfectly why rad onc in general is a great career on another thread:

"I matched to Rad Onc this cycle! Many programs shared their alumni lists with us while interviewing, and most recent graduates were able to find employment (staff or locum) after 1 fellowship. There were also outliers who found employment straight away or who did 2 fellowships. Overall, it looks like things are slowly improving!

I think it was less popular this year, at least partially, because people didn’t get enough exposure through visiting electives. Anecdotally I can think of a few people in my class who were considering it but weren't able to secure a home school elective. It's also a smaller specialty, so small fluctuations (ie 5 less people applying) could have a big impact on the match. 

Overall, It’s a very rewarding specialty and such a hidden gem in medicine that not a lot of people get exposure to or know about. If you enjoy:

- emotionally satisfying patient encounters and relationships from treating cancer or relieving painful end of life symptoms (including long-term continuity of care in the form of post-treatment surveillance)

- cutting edge technology - probably the most advanced technology used in modern medicine (See this, this, or this)

- procedural work (radiation treatment planning, brachytherapy)

- creativity and creating personalized treatment plans based on anatomy and clinical/patient factors

- Multi-disciplinary, teamwork-based so you get to make lots of friends from other specialities and allied health professions

- Lots of exciting advances to look forward to in the future such as cardiac radiosurgery, treating oligo-metastatic disease with SABR, FLASH, and radio-pharmaceuticals 

I can go on all day but I honestly think when it comes to the day-to-day work of rad onc, no other specialty comes close to how sweet this career is! The downsides are the geographic limitations - it's a resource-heavy specialty so you need to be at a hospital/cancer centre (can't just set up in a plaza somewhere and practice RO)."

- Sauna

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the program. Don't rule it out because you think anywhere outside Ontario is a wasteland :) I promise you it is not. However, 100% understand and agree with wanting to be as close as possible to family/friend support and that is a totally good reason to alter the disciplines/locations you apply to or rank order list! 

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