Oncology, the study of cancer, is one of the most challenging and important disciplines in modern medicine. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a result, many of the top medical schools in the country provide rigorous training in cancer research and treatment.

University of California San Francisco

UCSF's radiation oncology department trains medical students in a variety of advanced cancer treatment techniques. The medical school's affiliation with several nearby hospitals offers students the chance to practice in a controlled but realistic setting. Students rotate through several treatment modalities including Gamma Knife radiosurgery and high dose rate brachytherapy. Although most graduates from UCSF's program practice professional oncology, others pursue academic careers in medical physics. With a median MCAT score of 35.0, UCSF is one of the most competitive medical schools in the country. Only Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Pennsylvania University have a higher median score.

University of Washington

Medical students at the University of Washington work with several nearby hospitals and cancer treatment centers. The University of Washington Medical Center, the Harborview Medical Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center all host high tech training facilities for medical students. The UW oncology department's highly regarded faculty includes 18 physicians and 13 professors with doctorates in the sciences. The program also offers students specialized courses in pediatric oncology. The University of Washington is also relatively inexpensive. Residents of the state pay about $27,000 in tuition each year.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is one of the most selective medical schools in the country. It is also among the best schools for oncology. The median MCAT score for admitted Johns Hopkins students is a stunning 36.0, and the median GPA is 3.91. The school boasts special expertise in children's oncology. The Johns Hopkins Children's Center trains advanced medical students in all the latest cancer treatment techniques and hosts 10 new operating suites designed specifically for juvenile patients.

The University of Texas Southwestern

Located in Dallas, the UT Southwestern Medical Center trains oncologists in professional practice and cancer research. Founded in 1962, the Division of Hematology and Oncology specializes in blood cancers like leukemia. Since 1991, the school has led the nation in the study of bone marrow transplantation. UT Southwestern is also one of the most affordable medical schools in the United States. Texas residents pay only around $15,800 a year to attend. With more than 900 students, UT Southwestern is also one of the largest medical schools in the nation.