Rare cancers

Cancer is a term used to describe a group of illnesses. There are over 200 different types of cancer.
Cancer is called rare when the amount of people who are diagnosed with it is equal to or less than 6 new cases per 100,000 persons in one year.

Which cancers are rare?

On average, 1 in 5 cancers diagnosed within Europe are rare. For more information on these types of cancer please see Rare Care, a European information network on rare cancers.

Cancer statistics in Ireland

The National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) collects data on cancer incidence, treatment and survival on Ireland.
The NCRI publishes a range of factsheets and statistical information about cancer in Ireland which may be of interest to you

Having a rare cancer

Having a rare cancer is not easy to cope with. It may take a longer time to make a diagnosis, it is often more difficult to find information about the rare cancer you have and you are less likely to meet another person with the same type of cancer as you. Many people feel isolated. But you are not alone. We have a lot of information about help and support available. 
Don’t forget your doctor and nurses will be able to support you too. If your cancer is very rare, your doctor may talk to other experts in other countries so that they can provide you with the best care available. This is normal practice so don’t worry if your doctor says that they need to do this. Remember Ireland is a small country so a rare cancer could mean that there are only a handful of people with the same cancer as you.
Learn more about how to cope with your feelings and know what support is available to you in our web information on the emotional effects of cancer.

Support for rare cancer

Find out what support is available to anyone affected by cancer. We'll tell you more about the different types of support provided by support groups affiliated to the Irish Cancer Society: what they do, who participates in them and if they're the right thing for you. 
We can connect you with counsellors to talk about dealing with a rare cancer diagnosis. Find out more here.
Our publications are available free of charge from our website, our Cancer Nurseline and our Daffodil centres. For more, please see our publications page.
Complementary therapies include relaxation and psychotherapy, something that you can do along with your conventional therapies. We'll tell you what's involved and how to get such therapies. Find out more about complementary therapies.
If you have a rare cancer, you may need to travel to a specialist hospital for treatment. This may be quite a long way from home. We may be able to support you through our transport programmes. For more please see our website section on patient travel.

More information about rare cancers

Cancer Nurseline

We are here to help. If you have any questions about rare cancers, you can contact our Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700.

Daffodil Centre

Visit your local Daffodil centre. See our Daffodil Centre webpage for more information on locations and opening hours.  
Visit our online community and share your story with others.