SEER*Explorer Help

SEER*Explorer is an interactive tool for quick access to a wide range of SEER cancer statistics organized by cancer site and by demographic characteristics such as sex, race/ethnicity, age, and calendar year. A select number of cancer sites may also be viewed by stage at diagnosis. Statistics may be viewed as graphs or tables and downloaded for use in other programs.

The SEER*Explorer allows for direct comparison of one characteristic at a time (such as Race/Ethnicity or Sex) for selected groups. For example, you can compare Recent Trends of Lung Cancer Incidence by Race/Ethnicity for Women.

Visit the following sections to learn more:


Using SEER*Explorer

Understanding the Interface

When you first open SEER*Explorer, statistics for Recent Trends in SEER Incidence for Lung & Bronchus Cancer are displayed by default.

The initial graph shows the following selections:

  1. Cancer Site = Lung and Bronchus
  2. Statistic = SEER Incidence
  3. Statistic Subtype = Recent Trends
  4. Compare By = Race/Ethnicity
  5. Sex = Both Sexes, Female, Male
  6. Race/Ethnicity = American Indian / Alaska Native (includes Hispanic), Asian / Pacific Islander (includes Hispanic), Black (includes Hispanic), Hispanic (any race), White (includes Hispanic)
  7. Age = All Ages

Options are available to:

  1. Page to other graphs, if more than one is available.
  2. View the Data Table (always presented under the graph), Download Results, and Share Results

An overview of the Seer*Explorer interface.

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Selecting Your Own Statistics

  1. Select cancer site using Choose Cancer Site field.
    • You can select from the list or begin typing part of the cancer site name to see available sites that match your terms.
  2. Select the Compare By variable.
    • This determines the lines of the graph. For example, if you Compare By Age, there will be a line on the graph for each age group you select. Only one characteristic (Sex, Race/Ethnicity, or Age) can be used for comparison at a time.
  3. Select Sex, Race/Ethnicity, and Age Groups of interest.
    • Multiple sexes, races/ethnicities, and age groups may be selected.
    • Results will depend on the data available and some values may not be displayed if sufficient data points are not available.
  4. The graph and data table will update automatically as you make selections.
    • To avoid too many lines on the graph, only selections made for the Compare By variable (e.g., Race/Ethnicity) are shown on a single graph.
    • Each combination of the other variables (e.g., Sex and Age) is displayed on separate graphs. For example, say you selected for Sex (Both Sexes, Males, and Females), for Race (White (includes Hispanic) and Black (includes Hispanic), and for Age (All Ages). When you choose to Compare By Race/Ethnicity, you will have three graphs: 1) Both Sexes, All Ages, 2) Female, All Ages, and 3) Male, All Ages.
    • To view the other graphs, use the Page controls above the graph. A particular combination may be selected by using the arrow buttons to move forward or back though the graphs, or using the drop down menu.

      Use the pagination controls to jump between the different combination of chosen variables.

  5. Statistics may be viewed in table format by scrolling down or by clicking on View Data Table button.

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Advanced Options

The Advanced Options available are dependent on the statistic. For most types, the following two options are available for table data:

  1. APC Precision or Rate Precision – The number of decimal places shown in the table for Annual Percent Change (APC) or Rates may be specified here. You can set the value to 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, or 0.0001.
  2. Show Confidence Interval – When this option is checked, the confidence intervals (CI) will be displayed in the data tables as columns for C.I. Low and C.I. High

    The "APC Precision or Rate Precision" and "Show Confidence Interval" options can be used to further modify the accompanying data table.

Other options are available for specific statistics types:

  1. Show Standard Errors - This option is available when the Rates by Age tab is selected. When this option is checked, Standard Errors will be displayed in the data table for Rates by Age.

    Checking "Show Standard Error" under Advanced Options will add the relevant column to the data table.

  2. Group Distribution by Stage - This option is available when the Stage Distribution tab is selected. When this option is checked, the graph will be updated to group stage on the characteristic chosen for Compare By.

    An example of a graph using the "Group Distribution by Stage" option checked under Advanced Options.

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Downloading and Sharing Results

Next to each graph that is generated there buttons available to Download and Share Results.

The Download and Share Results buttons will display a window with further instructions.

Download Options

There are three options available under Download:

  1. Graph (PNG) - This option allows you to save an image of the graph for use in other applications.
  2. Data Tables (CSV) - This option will download all the data for all the graphs (pages) from your current selections as a CSV file.
  3. SEER*Stat Session (coming soon) - This option will open all the data for all the graphs (pages) from your current selections in SEER*Stat. For more information about SEER*Stat software, visit: https://seer.cancer.gov/seerstat/.

The Download window offers three different download methods: an image file for the graph, a CSV data table, and a SEER*Stat session.

Share Results

This button allows you to copy and paste the URL of the results to share with others.

The Share window will provide a URL of your current session so you can share your results.

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Available Statistics

The initial release of SEER*Explorer provides access to SEER incidence and U.S. mortality statistics. Survival, prevalence, and lifetime risk statistics will be available in future releases.

SEER Incidence and U.S. Mortality

A cancer incidence rate is the number of newly diagnosed cancers of a specific site/type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years). It is usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk. The number of new cancers may include multiple primary cancers occurring in one patient. The primary site reported is the site of origin and not the metastatic site. In general, the incidence rate does not include recurrences. The population used depends on the rate to be calculated. For cancer sites that occur in only one sex, the sex-specific population (e.g., females for cervical cancer) is used. The incidence rate can be computed for a given cancer site or for all cancers combined.

A cancer mortality rate is the number of reported cancer deaths of a specific site/type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years), usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk. The population used depends on the rate to be calculated. For cancer sites that occur in only one sex, the sex-specific population (e.g., females for cervical cancer) is used. The mortality rate can be computed for a given cancer site or for all cancers combined.

The following types of incidence and mortality statistics are available in SEER*Explorer: Recent Trends, Long Term Trends, Rates by Age, and Stage Distribution (incidence only).

This is the average rate of change in a rate over several years and is used to measure trends over time.

Recent trends are available from 2000 to 2013 by Sex, Age, and Race/Ethnicity. Recent Trends in SEER Incidence use data from the SEER 18 Registries.

Recent Trends includes the "expanded" Race categories: White, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander. It also includes the ethnic groups Hispanic and Non-Hispanic, which are not mutually exclusive from White, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander. This was made possible by the inclusion of intercensal population information for these additional racial groups by the Bureau if the Census after 1990.

This is the average rate of change in a rate over several years and is used to measure trends over time.

Long-term trends are available from 1975 to 2013 by Sex, Age, and Race/Ethnicity. Long-Term Trends in SEER Incidence use data from the SEER 9 Registries.

Long-term trends include more years of data, but more limited Race categories than recent trends: All Races, Black, and White.

Rates by Age

Rates by age refer to a rate for a specified age group for the most recent time period, 2009-2013. SEER provides data for 19 separate age groups, ages; 0, 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15.19, 20-24, 24-29, 30- 34, 34-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74,75-79, 80-84, and 85+. The potential age groups available is generally dictated by the available population data. They are available by Race/Ethnicity and Sex.

Stage Distribution

Stage distributions are available for incidence only. Statistics show the distribution of incidence cases by stage at diagnosis (Localized, Regional, Distant, or Unstaged) and by sex, Race/Ethnicity, or age.

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Definitions

  • Age-Adjusted Rate: A method allowing comparisons of populations that takes into account age-distribution differences between populations.
  • Annual Percent Change: Used to measure trends or the change in rates over time.
  • APC/Rate Precision: The number of decimal places shown in the data table.
  • Confidence Interval: A range of values that have a specified probability of containing the rate or trend.
  • Incidence Rate: The number of newly diagnosed cancer cases during a specific time period.
  • Mortality Rate: The number of cancer deaths during a specific time period.
  • P-Value: Used in the calculation of confidence intervals and in significance testing. The default value for all p-values is 0.05 (equivalent to a 95% confidence interval or 0.05 significance).
  • Stage at Diagnosis: The stage that the cancer has progressed to at the time of diagnosis.
    • Localized: Confined to the Primary Site
    • Regional: Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
    • Distant: Cancer Has Metastasized
    • Unstaged: Unknown (or Not Enough Information to Indicate a Stage)
  • Standard Error: The standard error of an estimate is a measure of the sampling variability of the estimate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I do cross-comparisons of multiple characteristics, for example Race and Sex?
    In SEER*Explorer, you can only compare one characteristic at a time (chosen on the Compare By box). To do cross comparisons for example, lung cancer incidence rates by Race and Sex, you can download the data in CSV format to be used with external graphic software like Microsoft Excel.
  2. How do I compare multiple types of cancer?
    In the current version of SEER*Explorer, you can only look at one cancer type at a time. To compare among different types of cancers, you can:
    • Download data from SEER*Explorer for the cancer sites one at time and perform your own analyses in software like Excel.
    • Download the SEER*Stat session and expand the selections in SEER*Stat to other cancer sites.
    • Use Cancer Query Systems (CanQues).
  3. Where do I go for Technical Support?
    Please send questions or comments to SEER Website Support.