Congress Can Ease Cancer Patients Pain


While Congress is hard at work to address issues of opioid abuse and misuse nationwide, it’s important they’re also considering patients dealing with pain daily. Congress has an opportunity to both reduce abuse of opioids and help ensure people living with pain have access to the care they need, by passing a popular, bipartisan bill focused on increasing access to and awareness of palliative care.

This bill would complement the numerous pieces of legislation focused on opioid abuse moving forward in Congress by expanding pain and symptom management training for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others who treat patients with serious illnesses, like cancer, that cause chronic or acute pain. It would also boost funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) devoted to pain research. Currently, less than 1 percent of NIH funding is spent on pain. More research in this area could improve best practices for pain management – helping ease suffering of cancer patients while curbing opioid misuse.

Palliative care provides that extra layer of support patients and families need while battling a serious disease like cancer. That’s why I’m urging Congressman Jeff Duncan to seize this opportunity and help move this bill out of Committee. Passing this legislation alongside the numerous bills being considered in Congress to address opioid abuse will help appropriately ease pain and suffering.

Lynn Rearden

Edgefield, SC

Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)