orphan cancer
n. A rare cancer that gets little attention and little funding for research.
When Kate became ill, with a rare cancer called clear cell sarcoma, she reacted practically, and generously. She started a fund for research and treatment of "orphan" cancers like hers and played benefit concerts with her children Rufus and Martha Wainwright to swell its coffers.
—Robert Everett-Green, “Goodbye sweet harmony,” The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2010
The treatment is being tested at Stony Brook University Medical Center as a therapy for cancer of the appendix, a malignancy so rare it is known as an orphan cancer.
—Delthia Ricks, “New York doctors testing heated chemo for rare cancer,” Newsday, March 05, 2009
1993 (earliest)
He hates the thought of pet diseases, the idea that Americans whip out their checkbooks at the mere mention of some ailments while others go begging. Chest cancers, he says, are forgotten, orphan cancers.
—Claudia Feldman, “Chest cancers,” The Houston Chronicle, November 28, 1993
For an orphan cancer drug, which was left gathering dust on a shelf for 20 years until the Aids virus came along, [AZT] is the classic rags to riches story.
—Aileen Ballantyne, “Aids drug likely to offer HIV carriers a better life,” The Guardian, August 19, 1989