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Brief Description of the SEER-MHOS Database

The SEER-MHOS database links two large population-based sources of data that provide detailed information about elderly persons with cancer. The data come from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program of cancer registries that collect clinical, demographic and cause of death information for persons with cancer and the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) that provides information about the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) enrollees.

The SEER-MHOS linked database is a resource designed to improve the researcher's understanding of the HRQOL of cancer patients and survivors enrolled in Medicare Advantage Organizations. The SEER-MHOS database is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

NCI and CMS' partnership in this initiative is modeled on the SEER-Medicare linked database. For the SEER-MHOS database, CMS provides the MHOS data and NCI provides the SEER data. NCI manages the SEER-MHOS database, but both agencies work together to update and improve the database over time. Both agencies also collaborate in creating and carrying out the research plan that guides the initiative.

The linked SEER-MHOS database presently available includes twelve cohorts of MHOS data (baseline and follow-up) covering the data collection years of 1998-2011. Because these files are large and complex, before beginning an analysis using SEER-MHOS data researchers are encouraged to read through the data tables and figures in the SEER-MHOS Data File section of the SEER-MHOS Web site, and the training module in the analytic support section, to gain a better understanding of the linked data. In addition, researchers are strongly encouraged to reach out for information and technical support at to help understand the intricacies of the data before making requests and undertaking any analyses.

Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014