Cancer is a life-threatening disease, and there’s still a long way to go to overcome inequalities and ensure safer and good quality treatment across EU borders. The need to improve access to standard care across Europe and to increase the cure rates for all paediatric cancer types should be a priority for all those who care for childhood cancer patients and survivors.

Cross-border healthcare needs to unite specialists across Europe to tackle complex or rare cancer conditions that require highly spcialised interventions and a concentration of knowledge and resources.

Paediatric cancer comes in multiple subtypes and represent both a life-threatening disease and a major public health issue. With 35,000 children and adolescents newly diagnosed with cancer across Europe and 6,000 young 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 will 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. It will enable access to data diagnositics and treatments by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise, allowing information to travel rather than the patients through the implementation of Virtual Tumour Boards. To review a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, ERN coordinators convene ‘virtual’ advisory boards of medical specialists across different disciplines, using a dedicated IT platform and telemedicine tools. The process and criteria for establishing an ERN and for selecting its members are set in EU legislation.