The complexity of legislation and the obstacle race run by all promoters in search of approval and funding for their projects could have greatly hindered the development of healthcare networks in France, or at least discouraged many promoter. Yet social and health professionals, along with certain healthcare service staff, considered these networks highly useful for decompartmentalising the French healthcare system. They would favour patient-oriented projects. It is not a surprise that the number of networks in the field of oncology is expanding rapidly, with more than 60 projects registered by public authorities by the end of 1999. Cancers are chronic diseases which often bring into play the patient's vital prognosis, as well as psychological and social consequences - sometimes dreadful - for patients and their relatives. Cancer patient management calls for a multidisciplinary approach in elaborating the therapeutic project and providing psychological support. Continuity and consistency of care require a partnership between different care providers from different specialities, with different medical practice and environments - hospital or home care, public or private practice. Though so much information has become available in the medical literature, quality of care demands that each healthcare professional keeps fully aware of the latest diagnostic or therapeutic findings and techniques in his/her field. Certain cancer networks have become a place where care providers and establishments can share methods and medical practice. Network promoters and members have thus been able to regain control over the functioning and the future of their profession. Patients have also obtained a place in decisions concerning their own health. Setting up healthcare networks will certainly shake up the tranquil system which the WHO has reported as the world's best health care system at the dawn of this century. However, this will also probably contribute to maintaining this excellence.