About the Program
The National Cancer Act of 1971 mandated the collection, analysis, and dissemination of all data useful in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The Act resulted in the establishment of the National Cancer Program under which the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program was developed. The SEER Program collects cancer data on a routine basis from designated population-based cancer registries in various areas of the country. A sequel to two earlier NCI programs -- The End Results Program and the Third National Cancer Survey -- the SEER Program was initiated in several geographic areas of the United States and its territories with case ascertainment beginning with January 1, 1973 diagnoses.
The initial SEER reporting areas were the states of Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico, Utah and Hawaii and the metropolitan areas of Detroit, Michigan, San Francisco-Oakland, California and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In 1974-1975, the SEER Program was expanded to include the metropolitan area of New Orleans, Louisiana, the thirteen-county Seattle-Puget Sound area in the state of Washington and the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia. New Orleans left the program at the end of the 1977 data collection year. In 1978 ten predominantly black rural counties in Georgia were added. In 1980 American Indians residing in Arizona were added. In 1983, four counties of New Jersey were added with coverage retrospective to 1979. New Jersey and Puerto Rico participated in the program until the end of the 1989 reporting year. In 1992 the SEER Program expanded in order to increase coverage of minority populations, especially Hispanics.
The two new areas were in California: Los Angeles County, and four counties in the San Jose-Monterey area south of San Francisco. These expansion areas were selected primarily for their ability to operate and maintain a population-based cancer reporting system, and for their epidemiologically significant population subgroups. With respect to selected demographic and epidemiologic factors, these selected areas provide a reasonably representative subset of the United States population.