SEER-Medicare: SEER Program & Data
Overview of SEER
The SEER Program is an epidemiologic surveillance system consisting of population-based
tumor registries designed to track cancer incidence and survival in the United States.
Collection of the SEER data began on January 1, 1973. The registries routinely collect
information on newly diagnosed cancer patients residing in geographically defined
The SEER data contain information about an incident cancer diagnosis and
cancer-directed surgery and radiation therapy provided for first course of
treatment. The registries collect information about all primary cancers that a
person may develop. The SEER data do not capture information about surgery and
radiation provided past four months of diagnosis, nor is there information about
recurrence or metastasis that is detected subsequent to the initial diagnosis.
For more information about the SEER program and data, please see the SEER Home Page.
The SEER data released as part of SEER-Medicare are in a customized file known as the Patient Entitlement and Diagnosis
Summary File (PEDSF). PEDSF contains one record per person for individuals in the SEER database who have been
matched with Medicare enrollment records. Basic SEER diagnostic information is available for up to 10 diagnosed cancer
cases for each person. Refer to the 2-digit Site Recode Dictionary (PDF) for the list of cancers available.
PEDSF includes information on each person's month and year of birth, date of
death (if any), sex, race, and state of residence. It also contains variables from other sources that have been added to
assist investigators in their analyses. These include Medicare eligibility, reason for Medicare entitlement, and
health maintenance organization (HMO) enrollment by month for the period 1986-2003. PEDSF also contains variables
derived from Census Bureau data on basic socioeconomic status at the census tract and zip code level.
PEDSF File Documentation is available in a PDF file.