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EU Joint Action on Rare Cancers (JARC)

The Joint Action on Rare Cancers (JARC) is a 3-year initiative launched in November 2016. In general, Joint Actions are the EU Health Programme’s funding instrument to implement the EU-level priority actions in the field of health, and they are jointly coordinated by Member States (and/or their appointed bodies) and the European Commission.

The goal of the JARC is to contribute to improve health outcomes for patients with rare cancers in the European Union and, thus, decrease health inequalities across EU countries. The JARC in particular will address the lack of systematic inclusion of rare cancers in national cancer plans across Europe by formulating policy recommendations in this area, which then should be implemented by European Union Member States and in relevant EU initiatives.

The JARC will also help ensure the appropriate roll out of the European Reference Networks (ERNs), pan-European virtual networks involving highly specialised healthcare providers which will tackle rare diseases and conditions that require dedicated knowledge and resources.

The Role of ESSO

ESSO is a JARC Collaborating Partner, and it will thus work closely with other 22 Collaborating and 34 Associated Partners – including Health Ministries, universities, public health institutions, cancer registries, oncological institutes, patients’ associations and professional societies – under the overall coordination of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori of Milan (IT).

Our Society is involved in the project’s Work Package 8 “Medical Education”, which will work to improve healthcare professionals’ education and management of rare cancers. Partners in this WP will also develop innovative and shared solutions to raise awareness about the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and knowledge about the different aspects of these diseases, and to improve rare cancers patients’ empowerment.

Aware that most institutions are faced with a limited in-house expertise due to a low case volume, ESSO also believes that networking and pooling different types of know-how is the best solution to treat rare cancers. The JARC is therefore coherent with ESSO’s oncopolicy initiatives, such as ‘Rare Cancers Europe’ and the ‘Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care’, and it will also help achieve some of our objectives in this field, namely to guarantee the safety and quality of cancer surgery, to invest in surgical oncology research, and to address the existing inequalities in access to quality care by providing convincing arguments for policy-makers.

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