Cancer Cluster Guidelines

CDC develops guidance for state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments on how to respond to cancer cluster concerns. The current guidelines, “Investigating Suspected Cancer Clusters and Responding to Community Concerns: Guidelines from CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists,” were published in MMWR in September 2013.

In fall 2018, CDC/ATSDR began working to update existing guidelines in accordance with the Trevor’s Law provision within the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Actpdf iconexternal icon. The updates will ensure that state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies and other stakeholders have access to information about current scientific tools and approaches to assess and respond to potential cancer clusters in communities.

The process of updating the guidelines will consist of gathering input from subject matter experts, public health agencies, the public, and other stakeholders through various approaches, including but not limited to:

  • forming a Cancer Cluster Guidelines Expert Panel;
  • assessing current and best practices of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies;
  • requesting public comment through a Federal Register Notice; and
  • reviewing the scientific literature.

Updated guidelines are expected to be released in 2021.

This web site will be updated with information on the process and how stakeholders can provide input.

Questions & Answers


Why is CDC doing this now?

In 2016, the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was enacted, which included a provision called “Trevor’s Law” that addresses cancer clusters. The Act calls for periodically updating guidelines for investigating potential cancer clusters.  In FY 2019, Congress appropriated $1M to CDC/NCEH to update the current guidelines.

The updates will ensure that state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies and other stakeholders have access to information about current scientific tools and approaches to assess and respond to potential cancer clusters in communities.


What will change?

Current (2013) guidelines provide government public health officials with a four-step process in responding to and investigating potential cancer clusters, and outline how to seek federal technical assistance if needed.

The process of updating the guidelines will include reviewing any scientific and technological advances in cancer cluster investigations to see if and how they can be incorporated.

We don’t know yet how the guidelines will change.


Will CDC be more involved in ongoing or new state investigations?

States will retain the primary role in responding to community concerns about cancer. The guidelines update will ensure that public health agencies have the most recent scientific tools to address community concerns. CDC/ATSDR will continue to provide technical assistance to states as requested.


How can I provide input?

CDC released a Federal Register Notice to solicit input from the public, including individuals, community groups, and scientific and medical professionals. The notice was open from May 15, 2019 through July 15, 2019.  You can access the notice hereexternal icon. CDC continues to accept comments from the public via e-mail at CCGuidelines@cdc.gov.


How long will this take?

The process began in late 2018. Time is needed to gather information from a number of experts and stakeholders. We hope to publish the new guidelines in 2021. You can stay informed by visiting this web site.


 

Contact Us: CCGuidelines@cdc.gov

Page last reviewed: October 30, 2019