Data on Scope of Regional Lymph Node Surgery has been found to under-report Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNBx) procedures either alone or with Axillary Dissection (ALND). Reviews by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries (CDC/NPCR), and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program have all confirmed mis-coding of this data element. Revised coding rules and associated instructions have been developed that put emphasis on securing information from the operative report in contrast to the pathology report. These revised coding instructions will be implemented for cases diagnosed January 1, 2012 and later. All population based and facility based cancer registry programs are coordinating implementation through shared materials, communications, training, and quality assessments. More detailed information will become available in December 2011.

SEER Research Data Changes

On October 28, 2011, a change was made to the November 2010 SEER research data to remove information pertaining to scope of regional lymph node surgery. The change was for breast cancer cases only, defined strictly by primary site (C50.0-C50.9; represented as 500-509 in the files).

The following changes were made:

  • RX Summ--Scope Reg LN Sur (2003+) - for this field all 2003+ cases of breast cancer (primary site 500-509) were changed to "9" (unknown/not applicable). Note that cases diagnosed prior to 2003 are blank for all tumors (which means N/A).
  • Scope of reg lymph nd surg (1998-2002) - for this field all 1998-2002 cases of breast cancer were changed to "9" (unknown/not applicable). Note that cases diagnosed prior to 1998 or after 2002 are blank for all tumors (which means N/A).

The November 2009 and earlier data submissions were not updated. However, if you access those data in client server mode, you will receive a variable warning for all scope or regional lymph node variables. The warning states that the field should not be used for breast cancer cases and links to this web page.