CANCER PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PLAN AND THE SUBSPECIALTY IN ONCOLOGY BY THE JAPANESE MEDICAL SOCIETIES: THE RESULTS, ISSUES TO BE SOLVED AND PERSPECTIVES

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Abstract

Background

The Cancer Control Act was established in 2006 and implemented in 2007. One of the newly developed programs was Cancer Professional Education Plan as a postgraduate program which was begun in late 2007 led by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Results

A total of 18 programs were formed by the group united by 3–13 colleges and universities throughout Japan. Many programs have made a good collaboration with each other to educate cancer professionals including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other medical personnel. A total of 1624 students have entered the program since 2007, and 338 oncologists have received certification of subspecialty in oncology. Trainees need to have at least 5 years of oncology training after they finish 2 years of rotating internship according to the subspecialty in oncology education system by the Japanese Medical Societies. Therefore, students who entered this program immediately after they completed 2 years of rotating internship will be qualified for the Board examination in 2012 and therefore, 300-400 new specialists are expected to be certified a year from 2013.

Issues to consider

Students have to carry out not only a basic or clinical research but also clinical training in oncology. It is hard for them to complete the curriculum for the 4-year school period, while it is difficult for the faculty to be a good mentor because they are too busy to take care of both medical and postgraduate students. This program is characterized by collaboration of colleges and universities which puts heavy burden on both the teachers and students as well.

Perspectives

To have a good clinical experience by students, it is preferable for each school to have subspecialty departments in oncology such as medical oncology, radiation oncology and palliative medicine. In addition, it needs to have an independent organization or unit to coordinate the group to facilitate the program. We expect the next to be a good program to satisfy such needs and pursue the second generation of ‘Cancer Professional Education Plan’ to get a good outcome.

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