What are the Different Cancer Research Jobs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 February 2020
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Cancer research jobs are available in a wide range of industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals to fundraising. In general, the scientific aspect of cancer research is focused on identifying the triggers for the different types of cancers, exploring the effectiveness of the various treatment options, and reducing the mortality rate due to cancer. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body and is found in all animals. Research into cancer is an international focus, with billions of dollars spent each year in the hopes of reducing or eliminating the frequency of cancer diagnoses. Cancer research jobs can be grouped into three main areas of focus: scientific exploration of causes, development and testing of treatment options, and fundraising.

The primary type of cancer research jobs available within the scientific community are focused on identifying the causes or triggers for the various types of cancer. Given that cells divide and grow constantly, determining what causes the uncontrolled cellular growth of cancer is a fundamental question that is central to understanding and treating cancer. The actual jobs available in this field include biochemists, physiologists, oncologists, and other dedicated scientists. Technologist and technician positions are also available to assist the primary researchers in their work.


The development and testing of treatment options requires collaboration between pure scientists and oncologists. These types of cancer research jobs require a significant amount of training, skill, and experience. Typically organized through cancer research hospitals or foundations, the qualifications for these positions include a combination of formal, post-secondary education and work experience. The types of positions involved in this type of work is typically licensed medical doctors, oncology nurses, research project coordinators, and other support staff.

A growing number of cancer research jobs are related to fundraising activities. The organization, management, and operational skills required in these types of jobs are very high. This type of professional fundraising requires a strategic plan, long-term campaign management, and a high degree of personal integrity. The types of positions required include campaign manager, front-line fundraiser, accounting manager, and marketing manager.

Research into the causes and triggers of cancer are expensive and time consuming. The funding for this type of work comes from three sectors: government research grants, private fundraising, and private companies. Government grants are typically funneled through universities or dedicated research hospitals. Private fundraising is truly its own industry and provides money to various charitable organizations that support dedicated research institutes. Private companies that invest in cancer research jobs are usually medical or health services companies.


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