Expanded Racial/Ethnic Data Available in DevCan

New data sets are available for DevCan software that enable the calculation of lifetime and age-conditional probabilities of developing or dying from major cancers for several more racial/ethnic groups. Previous versions of the DevCan software produced risk estimates only for whites, blacks, and all races combined. Selected DevCan results using the new racial/ethnic databases are discussed in a recent article [see Miller et al., 2006]. Although racial/ethnic disparities in the lifetime risk of cancer may be due to differences in the incidence of cancer among the groups, the disparities may also reflect differential mortality rates from causes other than the cancer of interest. Furthermore, because cross-sectional incidence and mortality rates are used in calculating the DevCan risk estimates, results must be interpreted with caution when events, such as the widespread and rapid implementation of a new screening test, are known to have influenced disease rates.

Racial/ethnic data centered on 1990

The racial/ethnic data have been expanded to enable cancer risk comparisons among American Indian/Aleut/Eskimo, black, Chinese, Filipino, native Hawaiian, Japanese, all Asian and Pacific Islander groups combined, white (total, non-Hispanic), and Hispanic populations [download DevCan databases]. These data are centered on 1990 because the population estimates needed to calculate disease rates for the detailed racial/ethnic groups are available only from the 1990 decennial Census. To derive the probabilities of developing cancer for the detailed racial/ethnic groups, incidence rates were based on cancer diagnoses from the following SEER reporting areas: metropolitan Atlanta and 10 nearby rural Georgia counties; Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, San Jose/ Monterey, and Seattle/Puget Sound; and the states of Alaska (American Indian/Aleut/Eskimo populations only), Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, and Utah. Incidence data from the state of Connecticut are not included in the Hispanic and non-Hispanic white calculations because of the large proportion of patients in that registry for whom Hispanic ethnicity is unknown. When calculating the probabilities of developing cancer, mortality data are based on the same SEER regions that were included in the incidence rate calculations. When calculating the probabilities of dying from cancer, the mortality data are based on all United States deaths, with the following exceptions. The states of Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia and the District of Columbia are excluded from the Hispanic mortality calculations because of high proportions of patients with unknown Hispanic ethnicity [see SEER's Policy for Calculating Hispanic Mortality].

Racial/ethnic data for 1993 forward

It would be desirable to have a detailed racial/ethnic data base centered on the 2000 decennial Census, but data limitations make this infeasible at the present time. In the 2000 census, multiple-race responses were tabulated from individuals of mixed heritage; however, most hospital records and death certificates contain only single-race information. Methods for "bridging" the multiple-race population denominator data to single-race categories, to make them more comparable to the numerator data, are based on statistical models that have been developed only for major race groups (white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Aleut/Eskimo) [see the NCHS report, Census 2000 Population with Bridged Race Categories (PDF) ]. Consequently, DevCan risk estimates are limited to these four racial groups and to Hispanic populations. These estimates are available for 1993 forward for white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic data [download DevCan databases].

Last Updated: 02 Jan, 2020