National Cancer Institute
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Outcomes Research Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

SEER-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) Linkage Project:


What do the two surveys tell us about cancer patients enrolled in Medicare?

The MHOS collects considerable information about HRQOL through the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36), a 36-item, reliable self-report tool that is widely used, well-tested and that has been validated in numerous studies, including many pertaining to cancer care. The MHOS also gathers data on demographics, socioeconomic status, health problems, functional status, and symptoms.

The SEER registries provide complementary data on a number of variables that are likely to influence HRQOL among cancer patients and survivors. These variables include the cancer diagnosis for survivors, the nature of the initial treatment, and the timing of survey administration in relation to cancer diagnosis.

SEER-MHOS is a unique research resource. It can be used to:

  • explore variations in HRQOL by tumor site;
  • examine differences in HRQOL by race and ethnicity;
  • assess healthcare preferences of elderly cancer patients and survivors enrolled in managed care; and
  • study the impact of a cancer diagnosis and initial treatment on HRQOL in patients enrolled in health maintenance organizations.

SEER-MHOS also is a valuable quality improvement resource. It can be used by:

  • health plans who want information that is more "actionable" and linked to disease processes they understand and manage;
  • health plans who want to monitor plan performance, facilitate health plan quality improvement, and assist consumers with plan selection; and
  • policymakers who want outcomes reports better tailored to Medicare beneficiaries subgroups.

Last modified:
22 Dec 2008
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