#1: Date of diagnosis
Date of Diagnosis: When doing follow-back at nursing homes on DCO cases, we find it difficult to code diagnosis date because the nursing home records are often vague or incomplete. Should the diagnosis date be coded as unknown (excluded from SEER database), the date of death, or the approximate date of diagnosis as reported on the death certificate?
If the nursing home record indicates that the patient had cancer, use the best approximation for date of diagnosis.
If the record says the patient had cancer when admitted, but it does not provide a date of diagnosis, use the date of admission as the date of diagnosis.
If there is no mention of cancer in the nursing home record and/or all work-up in the record is negative, assume the cancer was discovered at autopsy. Use the date of death as the date of diagnosis, and leave as a Death Certificate Only case.