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'Rare' cancers in the spotlight at major European conference
Date:2/24/2010

More should be done across Europe to ensure that people with rare forms of cancer are not denied access to the best possible treatment, say the organizers of a major European cancer conference to be held in Milan on 9 and 10 March 2010.

"People with rare diseases have the same right to receive proper treatment as all other patients", said Dr. Paolo G. Casali, Head of the Sarcoma Medical Treatment Unit at the Milan Istituto Nazionale Tumori and co-chair of the ESMO Conference on Sarcoma and GIST. "Yet the sad reality is that access to treatments for rare cancers varies across Europe. And patients with these tumors do not always receive the best possible care."

"Focusing on these forms of cancer can have wider benefits," Dr. Casali added. "Many rare cancers are exceptionally rich of targets for the new molecularly targeted therapies. Sarcomas are an obvious case: they are relatively rare, they can be split into 50-plus subgroups, they have plenty of targets, they are serving as an advanced model for medical oncologists. This Conference highlights all this."

The ESMO Conference on Sarcoma and GIST is part of the European Society for Medical Oncology's strong commitment to cover the newest therapies and address issues related to rare cancers. The conference will present the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of a group of rare cancers that affect the body's connective tissues.

Known as soft tissue sarcomas, these tumors can be found in muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves and the tissues around joints. GIST, or gastrointestinal stromal tumour, is a type of sarcoma that originates from the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Around 50 different kinds of soft-tissue sarcomas have been identified. Altogether, connective tissue cancers affect about 25,000 people in Europe each year.

"Therapies in sarcomas present many real challenges," said Dr.Paolo Dei Tos Director of the Pathology Unit of the
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Contact: Vanessa Pavinato
media@esmo.org
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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