New Report to Illustrate Barriers to Care for Patients in Pain

June 29, 2011

WASHINGTON – June 29, 2011 – The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will release a report today detailing the status of pain care management and research in the United States. The first report of its kind, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Treatment, and Research will help to raise awareness that untreated pain is a significant public health problem affecting millions of Americans.

The report will include findings about the adequacy of pain assessment, treatment and management in the United States. The report will also identify barriers to appropriate pain care and make recommendations designed to reduce barriers to care and improve training, research, education and clinical care.

“Barriers to adequate pain care and symptom management cause millions of Americans fighting cancer or other serious conditions to suffer needlessly every day,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This report will bring the untold story of untreated pain to light and help to ensure that patients can focus on fighting disease, completing their treatments and enjoying time with their families without suffering unnecessary and relentless pain.”

ACS CAN has been a long-time advocate for research to better understand the difficulty that chronically ill patients have in accessing appropriate pain relief in this country. In 2006, ACS CAN, along with the National Pain Care Forum, drafted the National Pain Care Policy Act that garnered bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. Three of the four provisions of the bill were subsequently enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.

“Members of Congress have shown bipartisan support for addressing the epidemic of chronic pain in this country,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. “This report underscores the need to address the evidence and work toward policy change to ensure cancer patients, survivors and others with chronic diseases have access to adequate pain care.”

In addition to the Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Treatment, and Research report, key provisions of existing federal law also call for the establishment of an Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and an Education and Training Grant Program. ACS CAN will continue to work to implement these provisions that are important for cancer patients and their families.


Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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