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The contents of this section were published in 2003 as part of SEER's 30th Anniversary celebration.

The SEER Patterns of Care (POC) studies provide important information on cancer treatments as documented in hospital records. The study goals are to evaluate the diffusion of state-of-the-art cancer therapy into community practice, disseminate findings in scientific journals and through professional meetings, and work with professional organizations to develop educational opportunities to increase the use of state-of-the-art cancer therapy and quality of care in community practice.

Each year, NCI selects different cancer sites to be included in the POC studies and randomly samples cases from those ascertained by the SEER registries. Cancer sites that have been addressed by POC studies include breast, colorectal, bladder, head and neck, melanoma, non-small cell lung, leukemia, cervical, prostate, pancreatic, testicular, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, vulva, gastric, corpus uteri, sarcoma and ovarian cancers, plus childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), Hodgkin’s, osteosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, and brain stem. These studies provide national, population-based information on treatment dissemination into community practice, possible determinants of dissemination, and variations in therapy. This information is vital in developing educational programs designed to improve the quality of cancer care.

The SEER Program provides information that may lead to findings on cancer risk, protective factors, and treatment modalities. The POC studies provide information that may decrease disparities in treatment and survival among different population groups.

Selected References

Harlan LC, Abrams J, Warren J, Clegg L, Stevens J, Ballard-Barbash R. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer: practice patterns of community physicians. J Clin Oncol 2002;20:1809-1817.

Potosky AL, Harlan LC, Kaplan RS, Johnson KA, Lynch CF. Age, sex, and racial differences in the use of standard adjuvant therapy for colorectal cancer. J Clin Oncol 2002;20:1192-1202.

Harlan LC, Clegg LX, Trimble EL. Trends in surgery and chemotherapy for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. J Clin Oncol 2003;21(18).

Mariotto A, Feuer EJ, Harlan LC, Wun L-M, Johnson K, Abrams J. Trends in use of adjuvant multi-agent chemotherapy and tamoxifen for breast cancer in the United States: ISP 1975-1997. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002;94:1626-1634.

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