While there is a lot of information available about the more common cancers, such as lung, breast and prostate cancers there are literally hundreds of kinds of cancers which are far less common and very rare in terms of occurrence.
Cancers are classified as rare either because they appear in unusual areas within the body or because of the kind of cancerous cell or growth which may be so unusual has to be difficult to detect or treat.
Not only are rare cancers scary in that there is less information available about them, they also increase the sense of aloneness that the sufferer may feel.
For instance with breast cancer there are support groups where women can share stories or get valuable advice and comfort, however with a rare cancer, a person may be bewildered whom to turn to for information and advice and even emotional support and sympathy.
Also finding an oncologist for treating a common cancer is easier; any oncologist would typically be more aware of procedures related to detection and diagnosis as well as treatment.
Treatment procedures and medication is better established for the more common cancers and it is therefore less difficult to find an expert who has a lot of experience with a particular kind of cancer.
With a more rare cancer, an experienced oncologist may be more difficult to find. Even general practitioners may have trouble identifying unusual symptoms as being caused by any particular kind of cancer and diagnosis is therefore difficult in such cases.
However online forums have made it easier for sufferers of rare cancers to get in touch, share experiences and obtain invaluable information and advice.
Rarer Cancers Forum is a UK based site that offers information and advice as well as the option of networking between patients and/or families and putting people in touch when required. Educational resources as well as tools for raising awareness about the rarer kinds of cancer are available.
This is also a valuable resource for health care professionals who want to interface with patients of other health care professionals so that help can be sought in identifying, or diagnosing a rare cancer. Here people share actual stories about their experiences and symptoms.
Here as well is a list of resources for persons seeking information about rare cancers. Rare cancers and associated disorders is a resource that also gives you information about diseases that are not cancerous but may be related to cancer/cancer treatment, benign diseases that are often treated by oncologists, and benign diseases that may result in an increased risk of subsequently developing cancer.