Rare cancers represent approximately one fourth of all cancers. Despite being a heterogeneous group of diseases, they share similar problems including lack of expertise, issues in quality of care, discrepancies in outcome and limitations in research. Traditionally, centralization of rare cancer patients to dedicated reference centres has been recommended to ensure expertise, multidisciplinarity and access to innovation. However, centralization entails health migration, rationing of resources and a potential failure in routine care. By ensuring appropriate care to all patients regardless the point of access, networking seems the most appropriate answer to the problem of rare cancers. The launch of the Joint Action on Rare Cancers as well as the recent establishment of the European Reference Networks represent for the first time a concrete opportunity to make networking a reality and ultimately reduce disparities and improve outcome in these diseases.
- Rare cancers
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