SEER-MHOS: Variables Restricted from Routine Release

Restricted Variables

For reasons of confidentiality, the patient's Census tract and ZIP code reported by SEER at time of first cancer diagnosis, as well as the ZIP code at time of the MHOS survey have been encrypted on the survey record. Separate files that contain geographically-based (ZIP code and census tract level) socioeconomic information from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2008 – 2012 American Community Survey are provided and can be matched by the encrypted patient census tract and zip code. These aggregated variables have been slightly altered to prevent matching back to the Census data and identifying the actual Census tract or ZIP code.

To prevent identification of health plans and beneficiaries participating in the MHOS, the original values of certain variables in the SEER-MHOS Survey Level Analysis File have been replaced. The actual values for plan id (PLANID) and plan contract numbers (CNTRNM and P_CNTRNM) have been replaced with unique plan and contract identifiers. The Medicare Health Insurance Claim (HIC) Number has been removed and replaced with a unique beneficiary identifier. The new field, labeled "unique HIC number", is the variable LINKID.


If investigators determine that restricted variables are an essential part of their analysis, they must submit their completed application form to the SEER-MHOS contact with a detailed justification for access to the restricted variable(s). A completed and signed request form and a list of people who will have access to these data must be included with the request. In some instances, special approval by the SEER registries may be required. The investigator will be informed of the necessity for SEER registry approval if applicable.

Note: In order to combine multiple requests when purchasing data, the requests must have the same permissions for access to any restricted variable.