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United States Cancer Statistics (USCS)

Technical Notes: USCS Publication Criteria

Cancer incidence data that appear on this Web site are from statewide or metropolitan area cancer registries that have high-quality cancer incidence data for individual (such as 2009) and combined (such as 2007–2011) years as demonstrated by meeting the following criteria on data quality for all cancer sites combined—

  • Case ascertainment is 90% or more complete.
    The registry data include at least 90% (margin of error ±5%) of the expected, unduplicated cases, where the expected cases are estimated by using methods developed by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).1 2 3 4

    Because some cancer patients receive diagnostic or treatment services at more than one reporting facility, cancer registries perform a procedure known as "unduplication" to ensure that each cancer case is counted only once.5


  • No more than 5% of cases are ascertained solely on the basis of a death certificate.
    Another measure of the completeness of case ascertainment is the proportion of cases ascertained solely on the basis of a death certificate, with no other information on the case available after the registry has completed a routine procedure known as "death clearance and followback."5 6 7


  • No more than 3% of cases are missing information on sex.


  • No more than 3% of cases are missing information on age.


  • No more than 5% of cases are missing information on race.


  • At least 97% of the registry's records passed a set of single-field and interfield computerized edits.
    Computerized edits are computer programs that test the validity and logic of data components. For example, if (a) a patient received a diagnosis of cancer in 1999, (b) the patient's age was reported as 80 years, and (c) the patient's year of birth was reported as 1942, a computerized edit could, without human intervention, identify these components as incompatible. The computerized edits applied to the data in this report were designed by the SEER Program for use by SEER registries. During the 1990s, these edits were expanded and incorporated into NAACCR* standards and into the NPCR–EDITS software designed and maintained by CDC.

State and metropolitan area registries that met the publication criteria outlined above are available.

References

1Tucker TC, Howe HL, Weir HK. Certification of population-based cancer registries. Journal of Registry Management 1999;26(1):24–27.

2Tucker TC, Howe HL. Measuring the quality of population-based cancer registries: the NAACCR perspective. Journal of Registry Management 2001;28(1):41–44.

3Copeland G, Lake A, Firth R, Wohler B, Wu XC, Stroup A, Russell C, Kimberley B, Niu X, Schymura M, Hofferkamp J, Kohler B (eds). Cancer in North America: 2004–2008. Volume One: Combined Cancer Incidence for the United States and Canada. Springfield, IL: North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Inc. May 2011.

4Howe HL. Conclusions of the Workgroup for High-Quality Criteria for Data Use: The NAACCR Narrative. Springfield (IL): North American Association of Central Cancer Registries; 2001.

5Havener L. Standards for Cancer Registries, Vol III: Standards for Completeness, Quality, Analysis, and Management of Data. Springfield (IL): North American Association of Central Cancer Registries; 2004.

6Menck HR, Phillips JL. Central cancer registries. In: Hutchinson CL, Menck HR, Burch M, Gottschalk R, editors. Cancer Registry Management: Principles and Practice. Second edition. Dubuque (IA): Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company; 2004.

7Seiffert JE, Hoyler SS, McKeen K, Potts M. Casefinding, abstracting, and death clearance. In: Menck HR, Smart C, editors. Central Cancer Registries: Design, Management, and Use. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers; 1994.

Page last reviewed: August 20, 2014
Page last updated: August 20, 2014
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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