The National Cancer Act (NCA) of 1971 expanded the authorities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its director, including the mandate to establish the National Cancer Program. As a direct result of the NCA, the National Cancer Program required the creation of a data bank for the collection, storage, analysis, and dissemination of cancer data to support research on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

This marked the birth of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, the main program that the NCI uses to support cancer surveillance activities that enable monitoring trends in cancer diagnosis and outcomes. Case ascertainment and data collection for the SEER Program began with January 1, 1973, diagnoses in several geographic areas of the United States and its territories. Geographic area and demographic coverage have expanded over the past 50 years, to represent nearly 50% of the U.S. population today.

Evolution of the SEER Logo

SEER Introduction

SEER collects data on cancer cases from various locations and sources throughout the United States. Data collection began in 1973 with a limited number of registries and continues to expand to include even more areas and demographics today.

SEER History

Launched in 1973, SEER collects and transforms enormous amounts of registry data into information we can understand. For 50 years the program has continuously expanded to cover nearly 50% of the U.S. population.

Quotes on the Value of SEER

Population Coverage Change in 50 Years

SEER began collecting data on cancer cases on January 1, 1973, in the states of Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii and the metropolitan areas of Detroit and San Francisco-Oakland. Since then, the SEER Program has been expanded to cover numerous additional areas. See About the SEER Registries and the List of Registries for detailed information on the SEER Registry coverage.

SEER Registry coverage has grown from less than 10% in 1973 to nearly 50% in 2023