Winter 2020 NAACCR Narrative Leave a comment

Recinda Sherman, MPH, PhD, CTR
NAACCR Program Manager of Data Use and Research



Research & Data Use

Welcome to 2020! As we spend the remainder of the 365 days squinting at our computer screen, I hope we all obtain the visual clarity this year implies.

Call for Data:

It was another successful Call for Data! Thank you all for your continued herculean efforts in collection and submission. Here are the numbers: we had 68 submissions and all registries submitted in XML format. And all but one (1) registry submitted the calculated survival fields; all but one (1) US registry sent tract-level area-based social measures (ABSMs) to calculate the YOST SES Index; and 44 registries have submitted 12 Month (2018) data so far—which is due January 31, 2020. And we anticipate all US registries will have created their VPC-CLS file by the end of January for the Camp Lejeune linkage.

Please note that we will be releasing the state-level data assessments (including DQI, CiNA Submission Summary & Certification reports) through the Call for Data Submission Site. If you have not already checked it out, you will find your historic reports (for submission years 2016-2018) here:

Finally, there are a few registries who have not competed the CaRRI database, and we will be reaching out to them for completion.

NCI/NAACCR Zones and EPHT Sub-County Areas:

You may be hearing from folks regarding your registry’s involvement in one or two projects focused on establishing small-areas for presenting cancer rates. CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking program has been working on establishing estimates to present cancer data as well as other health outcomes and risk factors. NAACCR is working the NCI to establish standard zones specifically for presenting cancer incidence data.

Both projects are weighing the need to unmask local variation against the need to present stable and confidential results. Both organization are reaching out to registries for feedback on how well their proposed areas would work for presenting local data. Once the areas have been designed and approved by the cancer registries, we will be incorporating these in NAACCR*Prep as another calculated ABSM. Registries can present their own small area data or consent to allow their data to be presented at the level as they so choose. We anticipate a session at NAACCR 2020 that will provide an update from NIC and CDC as well as some registries perspective on this work.

File*Pro and SAS Files for Calculated Variables

Historically, we have provided SAS files to help support calculated variables including the NHAPIIA, Survival variables, and ABSMs—NAACCR Poverty Code, URIC, RUCA, etc. The SAS files are used by registries to operationalize calculated variables into their registry’s database as well as by NAACCR and outside researchers to populate the data as needed.

However, providing the SAS programs in addition to calculating the fields in products like NAACCR*Prep requires duplicative work…which also means duplicative review and duplicative maintenance and (eek) duplicative chance for error. With this in mind, we are moving toward a more efficient system of relying on one source for defining these fields and will be phasing out the SAS file products.

Starting with the 2020 Call for Data, we will use a single algorithm library to calculate these fields within NAACCR*Prep and File*Pro (a generic tool provided by SEER for processing NAACCR files). If you have not already used File*Pro, I encourage you to check it out and to recommend it to outside researchers who currently rely on the SAS programs to calculate these fields.

File*Pro can:

  • View & manage any dataset in a NAACCR Volume II format
  • View & manage any dataset in a fixed column or CSV format (user configures the format)
  • Convert NAACCR XML files, such as those created by NAACCR*Prep, into flat files
  • Allow uses to easily define geocoder batch results to ensure leading zeros on census data are not dropped on the boundary files
  • Calculate the new NCI/NACCCR zones/IPHT sub-county areas described above (once the areas are approved by the registries)

File*Pro is fairly intuitive, but we anticipate there will be an overview of File*Pro in an XML concurrent session. Additional instructions will also be included in the Call for Data materials next fall.



As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or visually perfect ideas for 2020 in the NAACCR Research and Data Use area, please contact me




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