Rare Cancers Program Cover Image

A recent report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) found that 1 in 5 cancers diagnosed in the United States is a rare cancer, which is defined as an incidence of fewer than six cases per 100,000 people per year. By this definition at least 380 forms of rare cancer compose around 20-25% of all U.S. cancer diagnosis, which affect more than 500,000 Americans per year. A recent study, which included 10 years of Cancer in North America (CINA) dataset, revealed that 60 of 71 cancer types are classified as rare.

Rare cancers are traditionally understudied, reducing the progress of research and hindering decisions for patients, physicians, and policy makers. For many rare cancers, research to identify causes or develop strategies for prevention and early detection is extremely difficult. In addition, rare cancers can be extremely challenging in terms of diagnosis, getting information about the cancer and caregivers, fewer number of clinical trials, and lack of treatment options.

The Rare Cancers Research Program (RCRP) is being launched by U.S. Congress to support research on the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the Service members, Veterans, their families, and the American public. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 the Congress directed $7.5 million (M) to RCRP in the United States FY20 Department of Defense appropriation.

RCRP will be managed by utilizing the CDMRP two tiered review process ( A Stakeholders meeting will be held in April to bring experts from different subject areas together to identify knowledge gaps, outcome and product needs for the state of the science and patient care. After the Stakeholders Meeting, a Vision Setting meeting will be held to recommend an investment strategy to answer some of the unmet medical needs, knowledge gaps, and consumer concerns. Funding opportunities to support recommended research areas will be announced on this website and approximately by the middle of 2020.

Congressional Appropriations

Congressional Appropriations

  • $7.5 million

Last updated Tuesday, March 31, 2020