More than 300 rare cancers have been identified. ERN EURACAN covers all rare adult solid tumour cancers, grouping them into 10 domains corresponding to the RARECARE classification and ICD10. The management of rare cancers poses significant diagnostic challenges, sometimes with major consequences for patients’ quality of life and outcome. Inappropriate management of these patients may also result in an increased risk of relapse, and risk of death.
ERN EURACAN is sharing best practice tools and establishing reference centres for rare cancers. It is also establishing regularly updated diagnostic and therapeutic clinical practice guidelines. The network aims to reach all EU countries within 5 years and develop a referral system to ensure at least 75% of patients are treated in a EURACAN centre. It seeks to improve patient survival, produce communication tools in all languages for patients and physicians, and develop multinational databases and tumour banks.
The ERN builds on pre-existing clinical and research networks that have successfully conducted clinical trials through the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), and established guidelines through EORTC and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). It also benefits from the work of networks formed by the European Neuroendocrine Tumour Society (ENETS) and Connective Tissues Cancer Network (Conticanet), as well as several EU research projects.