Toward Precision
Cancer Surveillance


Cancer is a major public health concern that affects more than 1.6 million Americans each year. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Although the cancer death (mortality) rate continues to decline across all populations, certain groups suffer a greater burden of disease, and the financial and emotional hardships caused by a cancer diagnosis persist. Thus, our nation has made large investments in cancer care and research.


The Cancer Trends Progress Report is an annual report published by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). The report summarizes the nation’s advances against cancer in relation to Healthy People 2020 targets. It includes key measures of progress along the cancer control continuum—including prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, life after... Read more

trends; report; HP2020; measures; progress; cancer control

On July 12-14, 2017, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Data Management System (SEER*DMS) 2017 Face-to-Face Meeting took place in Rockville, MD, at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Shady Grove campus. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss enhancements to SEER*DMS and updates to SEER Program initiatives. SEER*DMS is a centrally designed data management system that allows registries to submit cancer data to the SEER Program. Developed in 2000 and first deployed in 2005, SEER*DMS also provides support for all core cancer registry functions, including importing, editing, linking, and consolidating data and producing reports. Since 2011, the SEER Program has taken steps to invest in and implement enhancements to SEER*DMS. In 2015, health informatics experts conducted a review of SEER*DMS and provided several recommendations for enhancement.

One recommendation included increasing transparency and clarity of changes and enhancements coming to SEER*DMS, and... Read more

SEER; SEER*DMS; Meeting; Data Management System; registry; registry functions; enhancements; cancer data; data quality

Cancer is a major health burden, with an estimated 1,688,780 new diagnoses in 2017. Between the difficulty of receiving a cancer diagnosis and the complexity of cancer data, patients and loved ones may have difficulty interpreting cancer information. The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) “Did You Know?” video series breaks down cancer statistics in layman’s terms and includes easy-to-understand charts and graphs.

The “Did You Know?” video series was created through a partnership between NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and the NCI Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL). In under 5 minutes, each “Did You Know?” video discusses a specific cancer type, such as bladder cancer, or a cancer-related topic, such as cancer survivorship. Each video presents statistics that include numbers, rates, and trends in new diagnoses, 5-year survival trends, and mortality rates and trends. The statistics are given for different racial and ethnic... Read more


Population-based cancer surveillance provides a quantitative measurement of cancer occurrence in the United States and globally. Core activities of surveillance include measuring cancer incidence and characterizing each cancer with regard to histopathology, stage, and treatment in the context of survival. Cancer surveillance has been crucial in informing policy and practice, as well as clinical and public health efforts to reduce the cancer burden. Surveillance also provides information for generating research hypotheses on cancer causes and outcomes, and for developing and evaluating interventions for cancer prevention and treatment.

genomicsbiomarkerscancer surveillanceprecision medicineBRCA

An integrated team from NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, four Department of Energy (DOE) labs—Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, and Argonne National Lab—Information Management Systems (IMS), and four SEER registries met on March 28th–30th, 2017 to continue their work on the NCI-DOE Pilot 3 collaboration. This partnership will enhance cancer research using the DOE’s expertise in high performance computing and SEER’s expertise in cancer surveillance. The meeting focused on the progress made in Aim 1 and Aim 2 of the pilot as well as future goals for Aim 3.

The goal of Aim 1 is to create natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning tools that can accurately capture information from unstructured clinical text for expanded cancer surveillance data reporting. The collaboration team has completed development of a Clinical Document Annotation and Processing (CDAP) pipeline. This... Read more

collaborationDOEsurveillance dataCDAPNLP