Tumor registries
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TUMOR REGISTRIES. THE SEER PROGRAM. The SEER program. The S urveillance, E pidemiology, and E nd R esults is a program of the National Cancer Institute seer.cancer.gov

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Tumor registries



The seer program
The SEER program

  • The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results is a program of the National Cancer Institute

    • seer.cancer.gov

  • The SEER collects and publishes cancer incidence and survival data from population-based cancer registries covering ~26% of the population in the U.S.


  • SEER began collecting data in1973 in the states of Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii, as well as metro areas of Detroit and San Francisco-Oakland

    • 1974-75  metro Atlanta and Seattle Puget Sound

    • 1978  10 predominantly black rural counties of Georgia

    • 1980  American Indians in Arizona

    • Prior to 1990  New Orleans (rejoined in 2001), LA; New Jersey (rejoined in 2001); Puerto Rico (1973-1989); Alaska

    • 1992  Los Angeles county and 4 counties in the San Jose-Monterey area

    • 2001 Kentucky, remaining counties of California

Background cont d
Background, cont’d

  • Joint effort by the NCI, the CDC, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR)

    • To guide state registries to achieve data content and compatibility for pooling and improving national estimates

Goals of the seer
Goals of the SEER

  • Collect complete and accurate data on all cancer diagnosed among residents of the geographic areas covered by SEER cancer registries

  • Quality control / quality improvement

  • Report on cancer burden (incidence, mortality, survival) overall, and in subgroups of the population

  • Variations / changes in patterns and trends over time

Goals of the seer cont d
Goals of the SEER, cont’d

  • Provide research resources to the general research community including a public use file each year, and software to facilitate the analysis of the database

  • Provide training materials and web-based training resources to the cancer registry community.

The seer database
The SEER database

  • The SEER program collects and publishes cancer incidence and survival data from 15 population-based registries that cover ¼ of the U.S. population.

  • Data on more than 6 million in situ and invasive cases are included in the database

    • 350,000+ cases being added each year from the SEER coverage areas.

Contents of the seer database
Contents of the SEER database

  • Demographics

  • Detailed tumor characteristics

    •  cancer stage (among many other measures)

  • Vital status and cause of death

    •  mortality, survival

  • SEER data linked with Medicare

    • Enhances the richness of each of the databases

Interactive features
Interactive features


  • Great to obtain quick stats as you’re writing a grant application or a manuscript.