SEER*Stat Case Listing Exercise 1a: View Individual Cancer Cases

Case listing sessions are used to create tables showing the actual values stored in the database. They provide a mechanism for displaying individual cancer records and patient histories.

Create a table showing post-menopausal (age 50+) female malignant breast cancer cases diagnosed in Iowa during the 2010-2014 time period. Include patient ID, age, race, year of diagnosis, histology, laterality, and sequence number in the table.

Key Points

  • This exercise illustrates the use of SEER*Stat to view variables for individual cases, that is, a list of tumors not a list of people. There may be multiple tumors listed per person.
  • In the results matrix, you will be able to show the variables in a label format or switch to numeric codes (unformatted). If exporting the data for analysis in other software, you may want to use unformatted variables.
  • Due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana's population for the July - December 2005 time period, Louisiana cases diagnosed for that six-month time period have been excluded from the research database. These cases are provided with the data, but they are considered supplemental data. SEER does not include these cases in most analyses, therefore the default in SEER*Stat is to exclude them with the "Cases in Research Database" checkbox on the Selection tab. For more information, see Adjustments for Areas Impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ( on the SEER Web site.

Step 1:  Create a New Case Listing Session

  • Start SEER*Stat.
  • From the File menu select New > Case Listing Session or use the case listing button on the toolbar.

Step 2:  Select a Database (Data Tab)

  • It is extremely important that you select the database as the first step. The correct database must be selected in order to see the correct list of variables in selection statements, table statements, and the dictionary editor. The Problem Statement instructs us to create a list of cases diagnosed in Iowa during the 2010-2014 time period. Iowa cases for this time period are included in all SEER databases.
  • On the Data Tab select "Incidence - SEER 18 Regs Research Data + Hurricane Katrina Impacted Louisiana Cases, Nov 2016 Sub (1973-2014 varying)"

Learn More...

See SEER Registries for a description of each registry. You may check the registries contained in a database by viewing the "SEER registry" variable in the dictionary editor. To view the registries for a database follow these steps:

  • Select the database on the Data Tab.
  • Open the dictionary by selecting Dictionary from the File menu or by using the Dictionary button on the toolbar.
  • Use the "+" to expand the "Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry, County" variable category.
  • Select "SEER registry".
  • Double-click "SEER registry" or use the Create button to edit this variable.
  • The dates appearing beside the registry name indicate the years for which SEER has data. For example, "Iowa - 1973+" indicates that data is available for Iowa beginning in 1973 through 2014, the most recent data release.
  • The values of this variable will vary from one database to another. Databases distributed with the SEER*Stat software include "SEER 9", "SEER 18", etc in the database name to indicate the set of registries included (see SEER Registry Groupings for Analyses).
  • Use the Cancel button to exit the Edit Variable window and then close the dictionary.

Step 3:  Using the Selection Tab to Select Records

  • Move to the Selection Tab.
  • Selection statements reduce the number of records based on specific variables. If no selection statements are made on the Selection Tab, all records in the database will be included in the table.
  • Consider each element of the Problem Statement
    1. Post-menopausal (age 50+) - requires a selection based on age at diagnosis;
    2. female - requires a selection based on sex;
    3. malignant - requires a selection based on behavior;
    4. breast cancer cases - requires a selection based on cancer site;
    5. diagnosed in Iowa - requires a selection based on SEER registry;
    6. during the 2010-2014 time period - requires a selection based on year of diagnosis;
    7. The remainder of the problem statement says to "include patient ID, age, race, etc." in the table. On the Table Tab we will specify that these variables are to be shown for each record.

Step 4:  Create the Selection Statement (Selection Tab)

  • On the Selection Tab click Edit.
  • Using the controls at the top of the Case Selection window, you will create a selection statement.
  • In the Variable box, use the "+" to expand the "Age at Diagnosis" category.
  • Select "Age recode with <1 year olds".
  • Moving to the center of the window, check to see that "is = to" is selected as the Operator.
  • Scroll through the items in the Values box until you find "50-54 years". Select all age groups from "50-54 years" through "85+ years".
  • At this time, the following should appear in the Selection Statement box at the bottom of the window:
    {Age at Diagnosis.Age recode with <1 year olds} = '50-54 years','55-59 years','60-64 years','65-69 years','70-74 years','75-79 years','80-84 years','85+ years'.
  • Use the New Line button in the middle of the Case Selection window to add a second line to the selection statement.
  • In the Variable box, use the "+" to expand the "Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry" category.
  • Select "Sex". Use the "is = to" control to create the "Sex = Female" statement.
  • Add each of the following statements in turn. Be sure to click New Line before each variable selection. The syntax shown below is {Variable category.Variable name} = 'Variable Value'.
    • And {Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry, County.Year of diagnosis} = ''2010','2011','2012','2013','2014'
    • And {Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry, County.SEER registry} = ' Iowa - 1973+'
    • And {Site and Morphology.Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008} = ' Breast'
  • Use the OK button to close the Case Selection window.
  • Because it is a very common selection, a checkbox is provided in the Select Only box to include only malignant behavior cases in your analysis. Make sure that the Malignant Behavior option is checked for this problem.
  • The Known Age option in the Select Only box is irrelevant for this session because we already excluded cases based on age in the selection statement.
  • The Cases in Research Database option in the Select Only box is also irrelevant for this session because we have selected Iowa cases.

Step 5:  Set Table Variables (Table Tab)

  • Since the Selection Tab and Table Tab are often confused, please remember to use the Table Tab to choose variables to include in the output table. Use the Selection Tab to reduce the number of records based on specific variables.
  • The Problem Statement for this exercise specifies that the table should include several variables: patient ID, age, race, year of diagnosis, etc. Age is used on both the Selection Tab and Table Tab. The Selection Tab is used to select ages 50+; the Table Tab is used to specify that the value of age for each record is to be included in the results matrix.
  • Move to the Table Tab.
  • The variables are listed in categories in the Available Variables box at the bottom of the screen.
  • To select each variable you will:
    • Use the "+" to expand a category.
    • Select a variable.
    • Click Column on the right hand side of the screen. The variable will be added to the list of column variables shown at the top of the screen.
  • Add each of the following variables. Note that the category is listed to the left of the period. The variable name is listed to the right of the period. This syntax is used in SEER*Stat reports that show variable names.
    • Other.Patient ID
    • Age at Diagnosis.Age recode with <1 year olds
    • Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry, County.Race recode (White, Black, Other)
    • Race, Sex, Year Dx, Registry, County.Year of diagnosis
    • Site and Morphology.Histologic Type ICD-O-3
    • Site and Morphology.ICD-O-3 Hist/behav, malignant
    • Site and Morphology.Laterality
    • Multiple Primary Fields.Sequence number

Learn More...

  • Use the Find... button if you do not know the name of a variable or you do not know its category. You can search the variable list by format/grouping label (e.g., "malignant") or variable name (e.g., "behavior code"). Type at least three characters in the Search Text box and any results containing that text will appear as you type.

Step 6:  Specify a Title (Output Tab)

  • Move to the Output Tab.
  • Enter the following title:
    Female Malignant Breast Cancer Cases in Iowa
    2010-2014 Diagnoses, Ages 50+
    Case Listing Exercise 1a

Step 7:  Execute SEER*Stat

  • At this point, you have made all the necessary selections on the session tabs. Click on each tab and verify the settings.
  • Use the Execute button or select Execute from the Session menu to execute the session.
  • A new window will be opened containing the output table or matrix. Results shown in the SEER*Stat matrix window cannot be edited. You can print the matrix, export the results to a text file, and copy-and-paste data into other applications. The Results Matrix section of the help system contains more information about the SEER*Stat matrix and its features.
  • Notice that only the first line of the title (as entered on the Output Tab) appears on the title bar. The entire title will appear on printouts.

Step 8:  Save the Matrix

  • Use the Save As command on the File menu to save the matrix. Enter "Case Listing Exercise 1a" as the filename. SEER*Stat will assign the "slm" extension to indicate that this is a "SEER*Stat Listing Matrix" file.

Step 9:  Print a Sample of the Matrix and Check the Results

  • You may not want to print the entire matrix (over 650 pages).
  • Use the Print command on the File menu to print a few pages by specifying a Print Range. (If you would rather not print anything, you can look at the listing in the matrix window or use print preview.)
  • On the printed version or in print preview, you will notice that the session information is printed along with the results matrix. The session information serves as documentation for the table. Notice that the name of the matrix file is printed at the top of each page. More information regarding the output matrix and print options are included in the SEER*Stat help system.
  • Compare your results by executing this SEER*Stat session file: Case Listing Exercise 1a Session.
    • Case listing examples are provided as session files instead of results matrices to ensure they may only be opened by those who have signed a SEER data use agreement and have permission to view individual records.