Paediatric cancer is rare and comes in multiple subtypes. With 20 000 children newly diagnosed with cancer across Europe and 6 000 paediatric cancer patients dying each year, it remains the leading cause of death from disease for children older than 1 year of age.
Average survival rates have improved in recent decades; for some conditions the progress has been dramatic, while for others the outcomes remain very poor. Significant inequalities in survival rates are also a challenge in Europe, with worse outcomes in Eastern Europe.
ERN PaedCan is working to improve access to high-quality healthcare for children with cancer whose conditions require specialist expertise and tools not widely available due to low case volumes and a lack of resources. It builds on previous EU-funded projects ENCCA, PanCare and ExPO-r-Net. ERN PaedCan is building a roadmap of specialist centres to help improve their visibility to healthcare providers and patients. A paediatric oncology tumour board network will be implemented using IT tools to share expertise and advice.
The network aims to increase childhood cancer survival and quality of life by fostering cooperation, research and training, with the ultimate goal of reducing current inequalities in childhood cancer survival and healthcare capabilities in EU Member States.