SEER in the News


Link found between radon and blood cancersExternal Web Site Policy

April 29, 2016—Newsday

Medical scientists have found a statistically significant link between levels of residential radon and risks for several cancers of the blood, particularly in women, say researchers from the American Cancer Society.

Recent studies show cancer patients that are married have higher rates of survivalExternal Web Site Policy

April 11, 2016—The New York Times

Several studies have found that being married improves survival in cancer patients. Now a new study suggests that it may largely be the social and emotional support of marriage, rather than any economic advantages, that produces the effect.

1 in 7 People Diagnosed With Colon Cancer Are Under 50External Web Site Policy

January 25, 2016—Time

People under the age of 50 aren't usually screened for colon cancer – but they're still at risk of the disease, according to a new study. The study, published Monday in the journal Cancer, finds that 1 in 7 patients with colon cancer is under the age of 50, and younger patients tend to be in more advanced stages of the disease. Current cancer screening guidelines list 50 as the age people should begin getting regular colon screenings.


F.D.A. Proposes Ban on Indoor Tanning for Minors to Fight Skin CancerExternal Web Site Policy

December 18, 2015—New York Times
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed barring everyone under 18 from using tanning beds, a sweeping move that medical experts say is a major step toward reducing the risk of skin cancer in the United States.

Who Can Delay Breast Cancer Treatment? A New Math Model Adds CluesExternal Web Site Policy

December 16, 2015—Time
For some women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is also referred to as Stage 0 breast cancer, something called active surveillance—screening, sometimes in combination with hormone therapy— could be an option instead of surgery and radiation. Currently, it’s difficult for doctors to tell whether the abnormal cells in the milk ducts that characterize DCIS will progress to invasive cancer, or if they will remain harmless. But as TIME Magazine previously reported, there’s growing concern among women and their doctors that treating all DCIS cases like invasive cancer is costly and potentially harmful for some women.

A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black WomenExternal Web Site Policy

October 29, 2015—New York Times
African-American women in the United States have reached a dubious milestone. For the first time, the incidence of breast cancer among black women is equal to that of white women, according to a sweeping new report from the American Cancer Society.

Social Factors Affect Leukemia SurvivalExternal Web Site Policy

September 14, 2015—HealthDay News
For people diagnosed with a type of cancer called acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), social and economic factors can affect the odds of survival, a new study shows.

Cancer remains leading cause of death among U.S. hispanicsExternal Web Site Policy

September 16, 2015—Reuters Health
Cancer remains the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S., driven in large part by lung malignancies in men and breast tumors in women, a new report finds.

Study raises doubts about early-stage breast cancer treatmentsExternal Web Site Policy

August 20, 2015—Washington Post
Aggressive interventions to treat the earliest stage of breast cancers have no effect on whether a woman is alive a decade later, according to a study that tracked more than 100,000 women.The findings, published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology, found that the overall risk of dying after being diagnosed with early cancer lesions, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), was 3.3 percent over two decades, and that pursuing treatment beyond a lumpectomy did not affect survival. Free, full text articleExternal Web Site Policy (JAMA Oncology, August 20, 2015)

Doubt Is raised over value of surgery for breast lesion at earliest stageExternal Web Site Policy

August 20, 2015—New York Times
As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer— Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes.

Breast cancer treatment and DCIS: answers to questions about new findingsExternal Web Site Policy

August 20, 2015—New York Times
As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer— Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes.

Earliest breast cancer risky for some women, study suggestsExternal Web Site Policy

August 20, 2015—Associated Press
New research shows that chances of dying from very early breast cancer are small but the disease is riskier for young women and blacks, the same disparities seen for more advanced cancer.

U.S. Breast Cancer Cases Expected to Increase by as Much as 50 Percent by 2030External Web Site Policy

April 20, 2015 – AACR press release
The total number of breast cancer cases in the United States is forecast to be 50 percent greater in 2030 than it was in 2011, when invasive and in-situ or screening-detected cancers are counted together, and this increase is driven mostly by a marked increase in cases of estrogen receptor (ER)–positive tumors and in women older than 70, according to research presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015External Web Site Policy, April 18-22.

U.S. cancer incidence, mortality largely stable or decreasingExternal Web Site Policy

March 30, 2015 – Reuters Health Medical News
The rate of people being diagnosed or killed by cancer in the U.S. is stable or decreasing for men and women, according to a new report. "For the main cancers, it's really pretty much good news, incidence and mortality is decreasing," said Recinda Sherman, an author of the new report from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) in Springfield, Illinois.

Path to breast cancer differs by race, ethnicityExternal Web Site Policy

March 20, 2015 – Reuters Health
Breast cancer patients of different races and ethnicities may not pick surgeons and hospitals in the same way, a new study suggests. For example, black and Hispanic women with breast cancer were less likely than white women to select surgeons and hospitals based on reputation, researchers found.

U.S. cancer survival rates improvingExternal Web Site Policy

February 19, 2015 – Reuters Health
The proportion of people surviving years after a cancer diagnosis is improving, according to a new analysis. Men and women ages 50 to 64, who were diagnosed in 2005 to 2009 with a variety of cancer types, were 39 to 68 percent more likely to be alive five years later, compared to people of the same age diagnosed in 1990 to 1994, researchers found.

Breast cancer patients lack knowledge of their tumorsExternal Web Site Policy

January 26, 2015 – Reuters Health Medical News
Women with breast cancer often don't know what kind of tumors they have, a new study found. Not knowing one's tumor features isn't necessarily tied to worse outcomes, but better knowledge might help women understand treatment decisions and take medications as directed, said Dr. Rachel Freedman, the study's lead author from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.


Decline in US lung cancer rates, varying by race, gender, ageExternal Web Site Policy

August 11, 2014 - Medical News Today
Incidence rates are falling for lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of both men and women in the US. This is the conclusion that a new analysis from the National Cancer Institute has come to, with previously unrecognized trends found with regard to age, ethnicity, race, sex and cancer subtype.

Fred Hutchinson reseachers find that recent use of some birth control pills may increase breast cancer riskExternal Web Site Policy

August 4, 2014 - NCI Cancer Center News
Women who recently used birth control pills containing high-dose estrogen and a few other formulations had an increased risk for breast cancer, whereas women using some other formulations did not, according to data published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

SEER study ties oral cancer risk among under-45s to HPV

January 31, 2014
The study, published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, queried the SEER database for adults under age 45 who had been diagnosed with invasive squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer between 1973 and 2009.


Lung cancer death rates continue to fall, helping drive decrease in overall cancer death rates; Annual Report to the Nation includes special feature highlighting the contribution of other diseases on survival of patients

December 16, 2013
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, covering the period 1975-2010, showed death rates for lung cancer, which accounts for more than one in four cancer deaths, dropping at a faster pace than in previous years. The recent larger drop in lung cancer deaths is likely the result of decreased cigarette smoking prevalence over many years, and is now being reflected in mortality trends...The special feature of this year’s Report highlights the prevalence of other disease conditions, (diabetes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and 13 others) in cancer patients over 65 years of age, and how they affect survival.

Comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy: a new tool to inform recommendations for optimal screening strategies.

November 22, 2013
Because some experts recommend consideration of health status and life expectancy when deciding whether to screen for cancer, the authors examined the statistical evidence in the SEER-Medicare database using sophisticated data modeling techniques. They estimated life expectancies of Medicare beneficiaries with and without comorbid conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Large Study Finds Association between Marriage and Cancer OutcomesExternal Web Site Policy

September 23, 2013 - American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
New results from a large retrospective study of the National Cancer Institute's SEER database, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that patients with cancer who were married at the time of diagnosis live markedly longer compared to unmarried patients. Researchers also found that married patients are more likely to be diagnosed with earlier-stage disease and much more likely to receive the appropriate therapy.

NIH study links Hodgkin lymphoma treatment to possible risk of stomach cancer

August 26, 2013
Hodgkin lymphoma survivors who received certain radiation and chemotherapy regimens were at increased risk of subsequently developing stomach cancer, according to a study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appeared Aug. 26, 2013, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

First major study to examine cancer incidence among Asian AmericansExternal Web Site Policy

July 25, 2013 - NCI Cancer Center News
Based on a comprehensive study that included more than half the Asian American population, scientists from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (a partner of the Stanford Cancer Institute) have produced the first ever analysis of national trends in cancer incidence among the eight largest Asian American groups. The researchers examined cancer incidence data from 1990 through 2008 in 10 regions of the country, representing 54 percent of all Asian Americans. The eight groups studied in detail include Asian Indians/Pakistanis, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Kampucheans (Cambodians), Koreans, Laotians and Vietnamese.

Black-White Divide Persists in Breast CancerExternal Web Site Policy

July 24, 2013 - New York Times
Breast cancer survival is, over all, three years shorter for black women compared with white women, mostly because their cancer is often more advanced when they first seek medical care, new research shows.

Melanoma Kills More Young Men Than Young WomenExternal Web Site Policy

July 2, 2013 - The Washington Post
Young men are more likely to die of the skin cancer melanoma than young women, regardless of the severity of the tumor, a new study found. This suggests there are fundamental biological differences between melanoma in men and in women, the researchers said.
View the study that used SEER data.External Web Site Policy

Cancer Diagnosis Puts People at Greater Risk for BankruptcyExternal Web Site Policy

May 15, 2013 - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
People diagnosed with cancer are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to declare bankruptcy than those without cancer, according to a new study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Researchers also found that younger cancer patients had two- to five-fold higher bankruptcy rates compared to older patients, and that overall bankruptcy filings increased as time passed following diagnosis.

Delay in Surgical Treatment and Survival after Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Young Women

April 24, 2013
A new study of California women finds that women who wait six weeks or more after diagnosis to have surgery or begin chemotherapy have significantly decreased survival time compared with those who have a shorter time between diagnosis and treatment. This adverse impact on survival was more pronounced in African Americans, women with public or no insurance, and those with low SES.

The study examined cases from the California Cancer Registry database. The California Cancer Registry is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

18 Million Cancer Survivors Expected by 2022External Web Site Policy

March 28, 2013 - Time
An aging population coupled with improved treatment methods mean more people will survive cancer. But at what cost? The American Association for Cancer Research released its second Annual Report on Cancer Survivorship, which shows that the current 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. will likely swell by 31% to 18 million by the year 2022... "How to ensure that these patients lead not only long lives, but healthy and productive lives, will be a vital challenge to all of us," said Julia Rowland, the director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute in a statement.

Study Sees More Breast Cancer at Young AgeExternal Web Site Policy

February 27, 2013 - New York Times
The incidence of advanced breast cancer among younger women, ages 25 to 39, may have increased slightly over the last three decades, according to a study released Tuesday. But more research is needed to verify the finding, which was based on an analysis of statistics, the study’s authors said. They do not know what may have caused the apparent increase... The researchers analyzed data from SEER, a program run by the National Cancer Institute to collect cancer statistics on 28 percent of the population of the United States.

Report to the Nation shows U.S. cancer death rates continue to drop

January 7, 2013
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2009, shows that overall cancer death rates continued to decline in the United States among both men and women, among all major racial and ethnic groups, and for all of the most common cancer sites, including lung, colon and rectum, female breast, and prostate. However, the report also shows that death rates continued to increase during the latest time period (2000 through 2009) for melanoma of the skin (among men only) and for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and uterus. The special feature section on human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers shows that incidence rates are increasing for HPV-associated oropharyngeal and anal cancers and that vaccination coverage levels in the U.S. during 2008 and 2010 remained low among adolescent girls.


Decades of Data Point to Overdiagnosis from Breast Cancer ScreeningExternal Web Site Policy

November 27, 2012
Since breast cancer screening came into widespread use in the United States in the 1970s, more than 1 million women may have been diagnosed with cancers that never would have caused them harm or required treatment, a new study suggests. These women may have been exposed unnecessarily to the adverse effects of treatment, the authors reported in the November 22 New England Journal of Medicine.

Longer Delays in Breast Cancer Treatment May Affect SurvivalExternal Web Site Policy

November 27, 2012
Delays between a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment increase the risk of death for women with late-stage cancers, according to a study published November 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). A second study appearing in the same issue of JCO found that the median wait time between diagnosis and treatment has grown longer. According to the authors, findings from the studies may provide data that can be used to develop quality measures for breast cancer care.

US Prostate Cancer Incidence Falls after Change in Screening RecommendationsExternal Web Site Policy

August 7, 2012
Soon after an independent task force recommended against routine screening of men aged 75 and older for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, the incidence of early-stage prostate tumors in that population declined, a new analysis shows. The findings suggest that the revised recommendations led to a reduction in prostate cancer screening rates in older men.

Survival Differences Persist Between Black and White Children with CancerExternal Web Site Policy

May 2, 2012
Despite substantial improvements in childhood cancer survival over the past several decades, racial disparities in survival rates persist - and, in fact, have worsened for some cancer types - according to a study published online April 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Hispanic Lung Cancer Patients Tend to Live Longer than Blacks and Whites

April 26, 2012
A new analysis has found that Hispanic lung cancer patients seem to live longer than white or black patients. The study suggests that, as with several other types of cancer, certain yet-to-be-defined genetic and/or environmental factors put Hispanic patients at a survival advantage. Most studies that look at ethnic and racial disparities in lung cancer compare black patients with whites. The study was published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Report to the Nation Finds Continuing Declines in Cancer Death Rates Since the Early 1990s

March 28, 2012
Death rates from all cancers combined for men, women, and children continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2008. The overall rate of new cancer diagnoses, also known as incidence, among men decreased by an average of 0.6 percent per year between 2004 and 2008. Overall cancer incidence rates among women declined 0.5 percent per year from 1998 through 2006 with rates leveling off from 2006 through 2008.


NIH study finds broad spectrum of cancer risk for organ transplant recipients in US

November 22, 2011
Organ transplant recipients in the United States have a high risk of developing 32 different types of cancer, according to a new study of transplant recipients which fully describes the range of malignancies that occur. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and their colleagues evaluated medical data from more than 175,700 transplant recipients, accounting for about 40 percent of all organ transplant recipients in the country.

Bladder Cancer Treatment Often HaphazardExternal Web Site Policy

July 12, 2011 - MedPage Today
Guidelines for treating bladder cancer are largely ignored, according to a study showing that only 1% of providers delivered the full gamut of recommended care to at least one patient in their practice. These results from the national Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database linked with Medicare claims were reported online in Cancer.

SEER Data Finds Men Diagnosed With Cancer More Likely to Die From the Disease Than WomenExternal Web Site Policy

July 12, 2011 - Reuters
The National Cancer Institute study looked at a database of 36 different types of cancer from 1977 to 2006. It found the highest male-to-female mortality rate ratios for cancers like lip, where 5.5 men died for each woman patient, and esophageal, where 4 men died for each woman patient. For lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, the research found 2.3 male deaths for each female death.

Report to Nation Finds Continued Declines in Many Cancer Rates; Special Feature on Brain Tumor Rates and Survival

March 31, 2011
Rates of death in the United States from all cancers for men and women continued to decline between 2003 and 2007, the most recent reporting period available, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. The report also finds that the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses for men and women combined decreased an average of slightly less than 1 percent per year for the same period.

U.S. Cancer Survivors Grow To Nearly 12 Million

March 10, 2011
The number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. There were 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.


Scarlett Lin Gomez honored as the AJPH Author of the YearExternal Web Site Policy

December 13, 2010 - Cancer Prevention Institute of California
Cancer Prevention Institute of California Research Scientist Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., has been named "2010 American Journal of Public Health Author of the Year." Dr. Gomez is the recipient of the award as a result of her research article based on her study of breast cancer in Asian American groups titled, "Disparities in Breast Cancer Survival Among Asian Women by Ethnicity and Immigrant Status."

Cancer Screening Continues Even after Patients Are Diagnosed with Terminal CancerExternal Web Site Policy

October 19, 2010
A number of patients with advanced, incurable cancer continue to undergo routine cancer screening tests that are unlikely to provide any medical benefit, reported researchers led by Dr. Camelia Sima from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the October 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Cancer Patients Leaving Hospice Early Boost Medicare ExpendituresExternal Web Site Policy

September 7, 2010
An analysis of hospice patients with terminal cancer using SEER-Medicare linked data indicates that those who disenrolled from hospice care had higher rates of hospitalization, were more likely to die in a hospital, and incurred higher Medicare expenditures between hospice enrollment and death than patients who continued hospice care until death. The researchers adjusted for a number of factors, including the number of days from hospice enrollment until death, and found that total Medicare expenditures were $2,475 higher, on average, among the patients who disenrolled from hospice. The analysis was published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology August 30.

Rectal Cancer Rates Are Rising in Young Individuals

August 23, 2010
A new analysis has found that while colon cancer rates have remained steady over the past several decades among people under the age of 40, rectal cancer rates are increasing in this population across races and in both sexes. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that greater efforts are needed to diagnose rectal cancer in young individuals who show potential signs of the disease.

Brain Cancer Incidence Trends Do Not Support Link to Cell PhonesExternal Web Site Policy

July 27, 2010
A new analysis by NCI researchers has turned up no evidence to support a link between cell phone use and brain cancer in the United States. The analysis was carried out in view of concerns about a possible link between widespread use of cell phones and brain cancer risk. With more than 279 million U.S. wireless subscribers today, the researchers reasoned that it should be possible to detect an increase in brain cancer rates over time if, in fact, cell phone use does contribute to risk of this particular cancer. The caveat would be that no effect would be expected if the induction period for brain tumors is very long or increased risk is limited to long-term users.

2010 Cancer Facts and Figures uses SEER and NAACCR data

June 15, 2010
Cancer Facts & Figures for 2010External Web Site Policy [PDF] has just been released by the American Cancer Society, with a special section on prostate cancer. Incidence data are from SEER and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). Mortality data are from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Scarlett Lin Gomez Speaks at an APIAHF National Press Club Event

May 6, 2010
Scarlett Lin Gomez from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California spoke at an event, at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The Forum, entitled "Beyond Reform: Health Concerns and Disparities among America's Fastest Growing Populations," was hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum (APIAHF) and the Kellogg Foundation, and addressed health disparities among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders. The event launched the American Journal of Public Health's recent special issue, which highlighted the health of Asian and Pacific Islander populations in the United States.

Trends Suggest Increase in Cancers of the Lower Stomach for Younger Whites in U.S.

May 4, 2010
Cancer of the lower stomach has decreased overall in American adults but has increased in whites age 25-39, a study finds. The work, led by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is published in the May 5, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.