As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its course, evidence is developing that cancer survivors are disproportionally affected by the new disease, from an increased risk of poor outcomes if infected to new barriers and challenges to receiving oncology care. Identifying unusual changes and differences in the patterns of cancer incidence and cancer care are long-stated well-established goals of the SEER Program.

Following a careful evaluation of various options available for collecting timely and clinically relevant data on pandemic effects on cancer survivors, the SEER Program determined that the most effective method for collecting timely data on new incident cases is direct abstraction of COVID-19 information in NAACCR abstracts fields that are currently required for data collection under current program contract requirements and within the framework of present NAACCR standards. Technical guidance regarding the implementation of COVID-19 data abstraction is provided in the the following document:
COVID-19 Abstraction Guidance v1.0 (PDF, 295 KB) . See the COVID-19 Q&A page for more details.

All Central Cancer Registries under contract with NCI SEER Program shall implement the directions provided in the COVID-19 Abstraction Guidance document. Central Cancer Registries shall disseminate, require the use of, provide technical assistance, and monitor the implementation of the present COVID abstraction guidance to all reporting facilities. SEER Registries shall attend training, encourage facility registrars in their jurisdiction to attend NCI training opportunities, and work closely with NCI SEER Program specialists to develop training materials, provide technical support, and take proactive steps to ensure successful implementation of current Abstraction guidelines. In addition, SEER Registries shall collaborate with NCI in the development and testing of NLP procedures for automated consolidation and integration of data into data management systems. This step will ensure that current operations at SEER registries will not be overburdened by COVD-19 data collection, and COVID-19 text abstracts processing into consolidated data will be fully automated at no additional cost for the SEER Registries.

Contract management questions related to this communication should be directed to Steve Friedman, SEER Program Manager. Technical questions related to COVID-19 Abstraction Guidance implementation should be directed to Peggy Adamo, Data Quality Team Lead.