CDC Updates Cancer Cluster Guidelines

Recent updates on cancer clusters haven’t been made since 2013, and the CDC plans to release new guidelines adding in current technical and scientific advantages.


In 2013, the CDC published guidelines to help state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies apply a systematic approach when responding to inquiries about suspected cancer clusters.

But since then, the CDC says, there have been technical and scientific advances that may be useful—so it is time to update Investigating Suspected Cancer Clusters and Responding to Community Concerns: Guidelines from CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists .


The CDC is working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to update the 2013 guidelines to ensure that users have access to current scientific tools and approaches. The new version will include input from subject matter experts, public health agencies, the public, and other stakeholders.

“We don’t yet know how the guidelines will change,” the CDC says. Once they are written, though, the public will have the opportunity to comment. In the meantime, the public and interested organizations are invited to participate by submitting written views, information, recommendations, and data. The CDC and ATSDR are looking for answers to questions such as, “What are the best approaches to respond to community concerns about potential cancer clusters?” and “What gaps and challenges exist in the 2013 guidelines? What are possible solutions to overcoming them?” Comments will be posted on

The request for comment was posted May 15 in the Federal Register and will be available for public comment through July 15, 2019. For more information and to provide comment, visit

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