The purpose of this study was to determine the number of breast cancer support groups withinhospitals and to describe their characteristics. A questionnaire was mailed to 564 member hospitals of theJapanese Breast Cancer Society (347 accredited, 217 non-accredited). 236 hospitals responded (a responserate of 41.8 percent), and we obtained the following results.1) 52 of 236 hospitals (22.0 percent) had a breast cancer support group.2) No significant differences were found among the hospitals concerning their administrative entity, size,or accredited versus non-accredited status by the Japanese Breast Cancer Society. However, thehospitals with a support group performed a significantly larger number of breast cancer operationsannually than those without a group.3) 22 (42.3 percent), 17 (32.7 percent) and 8 (15.4 percent) of the 52 hospitals had a support groupestablished by physicians, patients, or by both physicians and patients, respectively. A support groupwithin a hospital is considered to provide opportunities for physicians and patients to communicate, aswell as a patient-friendly support resource for those who have just left the hospital and those who areunder intensive treatment on an outpatient basis.4) Many of the support groups were headed by physicians in content and administration and played arather small role as a self-help resource. Additionally, some support groups could not cover patients'individual needs because the ages and postoperative periods of patients varied widely. Therefore, it issuggested that a system be devised where patients can utilize outside support groups when the contentand requirements of needed support change during the postoperative period.