Background: In Japan, with the rapid increase of breast cancer patients, there has been increasing demand for breast cancer treatment. As the main workforce for breast cancer treatment, women physicians are thought to be in key positions, since the number of women physicians has recently been increasing. Methods: To clarify the current statuses and issues of physicians and work conditions at the accredited breast cancer care facilities, a survey was conducted by the Japanese Breast Cancer Society (JBCS). Results: The main workforces engaged in breast cancer care are surgeons, and the number of breast surgeons of all institutions in this survey was 1338 (full time 1124, part time 214). The percentages of women among surgeons, breast specialists accredited by the JBCS, and residents are 22%, 25%, and 38%, respectively. Among breast specialists, more women tended to work at university hospitals and cancer hospitals. Twenty-eight percent of women were married and among those, 76% had at least one child. Many hospitals allow short working hours or exemption from in-house call for women surgeons during pregnancy and child-rearing. In contrast, half of the facilities apply a “single doctor-in-charge system”, where the patient’s primary physician has to be on-call every day. Many institutions convene conferences for breast cancer treatment planning before or after the scheduled working hours. Conclusions: Current systems for treatment of breast cancer should be improved so that all surgeons specializing in the breast can develop their career while maintaining their personal life.
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