SEER Training Modules

Data Collection

The information collected by cancer registries can be placed into four categories: patient demographics, tumor (cancer) identification, treatment, and outcome.

Demographic data consists of the personal information about a patient such as the patient's name, age, gender, race, ethnicity, birthplace residence, etc. This information individually identifies the cancer patient. Without individual identifiers to check for duplicate registrations, the data would be inaccurate and unsuitable for analysis.

Cancer information results from the diagnostic findings about a patient. It includes the primary site of the malignancy, its cell type, and the extent of disease. Dates and results of procedures used to diagnose cancer are also recorded.

Data collection continues after a patient is diagnosed with cancer. Information regarding cancer treatment are also recorded (surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone, immunotherapy, and other).

Cancer registries continue to gather data after the cancer patient has received treatment. This data consists of information concerning the outcome of the treatment. Patient status is updated regularly to maintain accurate surveillance information. Lifetime follow-up on patients permits registries to record information about patient survival.