Building the infrastructure for nationwide cancer surveillance and control--a comparison between the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Mar;14(2):175-93. doi: 10.1023/a:1023002322935.


Objective: In preparation for jointly publishing official government cancer statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) compared incidence rates from NCI's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program and CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR).

Methods: Data for 1999 covering 78% of the US population were obtained from SEER and selected NPCR registries that met high quality data criteria. Incidence rates (per 100,000 population) were age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population, and 95% gamma confidence intervals were estimated.

Results: NPCR rates for all sites combined were higher than SEER rates (males: NPCR 553.6, SEER 538.7; females: NPCR 420.8, SEER 412.5), but rates for specific cancer sites varied by registry program. Rates for colon cancer (males: NPCR 47.0, SEER 42.7; females: NPCR 36.5, SEER 33.8) and tobacco-related cancers were higher in NPCR than SEER. In contrast, NPCR rates were lower than SEER rates for cancers of the female breast (NPCR 134.0, SEER 135.9), prostate (NPCR 162.0, SEER 170.2), and melanoma as well as for cancers more common among Asians and Pacific Islanders (e.g., stomach cancer).

Conclusions: Rate differences may arise from population differences in socio-demographic characteristics, screening use, health behaviors, exposure to cancer causing agents or registry operations factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Registries*
  • SEER Program
  • United States / epidemiology