Final CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline Could Have Unintended Consequences for Cancer Survivors Living with Chronic Pain

Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen

March 15, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 15, 2016 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the final CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

A statement from ACS CAN President Chris Hansen follows:

ACS CAN appreciates that the CDC has recognized the important role that pain management plays in caring for patients in active cancer treatment, at the end of life, or receiving palliative care, but the guidelines disregard the impact on cancer survivors. Pain does not end when an individual completes treatment. Most often, cancer patients deal with lasting effects from their disease or treatment including pain for a significant period of time or indefinitely.

We continue to acknowledge and express concern about the public health emergency that has resulted from the growing misuse and abuse of opioid medications, and the harms associated with such use. We are disappointed that the CDC guideline released today did not address our previously stated concern about needed access to opioid analgesics for cancer survivors who experience severe pain that limits their quality of life.

ACS CAN shares the goal of the public health community of encouraging appropriate use of opioids. We remain concerned that without a balanced approach that accounts for the full continuum of care for cancer survivors the emphasis on reducing inappropriate use of pain medications will impede access to necessary pain relief for individuals fighting pain from cancer.

ACS CAN urges the CDC to closely monitor implementation of this guideline and its impact on cancer patients and survivors experiencing pain.

For a full copy of the CDC 's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, please visit:


Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]