Cancer diseases, as a group of pathological entities, represent a significant social and health problem. However, the consideration of all cancers in a single category in health policymaking has been subject to criticism. Due to their clinical and epidemiological characteristics, patients with rare cancers face obstacles in their access to innovative medicines, combined with a lack of expertise in the diagnostic and treatment processes. The establishment of specific policies for these patients requires a precise definition of the concept.
This article aims to provide a chronological overview of the definition of “rare cancer” in the context of health policy development. A narrative literature review based on the keywords “rare cancers”, “rare tumors”, and “rare neoplasms” was conducted in the PubMed/MEDLINE, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar databases. The identified articles were organised into three main contextual categories: clinical-based definitions, epidemiological-based definitions, and definitions used in pediatric oncology. Read the full article here.