Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER)

Years Available
1973 to present
Mode of Collection
Census: reports on all cancer cases reported to participating cancer registries.
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) tracks the incidence of persons diagnosed with cancer during the year and collects follow-up information on all previously diagnosed patients until their death.
Selected Content
Patient demographics, primary tumor site, morphology, stage at diagnosis, first course of treatment, and follow-up for vital status.
Population Covered
As of 2017, SEER registries cover 36.7 percent of the U.S. Population.
Participating sites include: (1) twelve states with central cancer registries: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Utah; and (2) four metropolitan, multi-county areas: (Greater California, Los Angeles, and Greater Bay Area -- San Francisco/Oakland, San Jose/Monterey); (Atlanta, Greater Georgia, and Rural Georgia); Seattle-Puget Sound; and Detroit. Metro areas are combined for data to complete states for CA and GA.
Response Rates and Sample Size
SEER registries that report data are upheld to data standards as part of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). The completeness standard for malignant primary tumors is 98 percent or greater.
Interpretation Issues
Because of the addition of registries over time, analysis of long-term incidence and survival trends is limited to those registries that have been in SEER for similar lengths of time.
Not all states are represented. Only certain metropolitan areas are represented. SEER registries are selected to represent US demographic groups, with oversampling for African Americans, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific Islanders (see population composition). New Jersey and Detroit are no longer in the SEER Program, but data is available through 2017. Wisconsin joined the SEER Program in 2018 but is a research support registry only, not under contract to submit data.