The CAL*Explorer application provides data from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) and the National Center for Health Statistics.
This page provides an overview of the statistics available, as well as the underlying coding that is applied to the data sources.

CAL*Explorer provides access to California Cancer Registry (CCR) incidence, survival, and mortality statistics.

Incidence and Mortality

Cancer Statistics Definitions

Cancer Incidence Rate

The number of newly diagnosed cancers of a specific site/type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years). It is usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk. The number of new cancers may include multiple primary cancers occurring in one patient. The primary site reported is the site of origin and not the metastatic site. In general, the incidence rate does not include recurrences. The population used depends on the rate to be calculated. For cancer sites that occur in only one sex, the sex-specific population (e.g., females for cervical cancer) is used. The incidence rate can be computed for a given cancer site or for all cancers combined.

Cancer Mortality Rate

The number of reported cancer deaths of a specific site/type occurring in a specified population during a year (or group of years), usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk. The population used depends on the rate to be calculated. For cancer sites that occur in only one sex, the sex-specific population (e.g., females for cervical cancer) is used. The mortality rate can be computed for a given cancer site or for all cancers combined.

Age-adjusted Rate

A method allowing comparisons of populations that takes into account age-distribution differences between populations. This application presents age-adjusted rates for both cancer incidence rates and cancer mortality rates.

Annual Percent Change

An estimate used to measure the change in rates over time. It is commonly referred to as the trend in cancer rates.

Standard Error

The standard error of an estimate is a measure of the sampling variability of the estimate.

Confidence Interval

A range of values that have a specified probability of containing the rate or trend.

P-value

Used in the calculation of confidence intervals and in significance testing. The default value for all p-values is 0.05 (equivalent to a 95% confidence interval or 0.05 significance).

Available Statistics

The statistics and terms defined above are available in CAL*Explorer under the following topics:

Recent Rates

This is the age-adjusted rate for the 5 most recent years of the available data.

Rates by Age

Rates by age refer to a rate for a specified age group for the most recent 5-year time period. CAL*Explorer provides data for 19 separate age groups, ages; 0, 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15.19, 20-24, 24-29, 30- 34, 34-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74,75-79, 80-84, and 85+. The potential age groups available is generally dictated by the available population data.

Stage Distribution

Stage distributions are available for incidence only. Statistics show the distribution of incidence cases by stage at diagnosis (Localized, Regional, Distant, or Unstaged).
The stage at diagnosis refers to the stage that the cancer has progressed to at the time of diagnosis.

  • Localized: Confined to the Primary Site
  • Regional: Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant: Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unstaged: Unknown (or Not Enough Information to Indicate a Stage)

County Rates

Presents age-adjusted rates for California at the county level. Multiple year selections are avaialble.

Survival

Cancer Statistics Definitions

Survival Rate

The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are still alive for a certain period of time after they were diagnosed with or started treatment for a disease, such as cancer. The survival rate is often stated as a five-year survival rate, which is the percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive five years after their diagnosis or the start of treatment. Also called overall survival rate.

Relative Survival Rate

A way of comparing the survival of people who have a specific disease with those who don't, over a certain period of time. This is usually five years from the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment for those with the disease. It is calculated by dividing the percentage of patients with the disease who are still alive at the end of the period of time by the percentage of people in the general population of the same sex and age who are alive at the end of the same time period. The relative survival rate shows whether the disease shortens life.

Available Statistics

The statistics and terms defined above are available in CAL*Explorer under the following topics:

5-year Survival

This graph presents the 5-year relative survival rates for comparison across one or two variables. The rates are calculated over a 7 year period to allow enough data for an accurate measure of 5-year survival. The year range always ends one year before the most available data year to allow each case in the analysis to contribute at least one year of follow-up data.

By Time Since Diagnosis

Survival by time since diagnosis provides a view of the percentage of people that survived up to 10 years after the cancer diagnosis. The relative survival estimates presented are for patients diagnosed in 2000 and through the latest available survival year. The year range always ends one year before the most available data year to allow each case in the analysis to contribute at least one year of follow-up data.

Cancer Site Definitions

The cancer sites available in CAL*Explorer are primarily defined using the SEER Site Recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 variable for incidence and survival analyses and the SEER Cause of Death Recode 1969+ (04/16/2012) for mortality analyses.

However, there are additional sites included for incidence and survival analyses that are based on specific behaviors and/or histologies, and only valid for specific years. These cancer site are defined below:

Brain and ONS (Benign/Borderline)

  • Only valid for years of diagnosis 2001+
  • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Brain and Other Nervous System
  • Behavior = Benign or Borderline malignancy

Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)

  • Only valid for diagnosis years 2001+
  • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 9945
  • Behavior = Malignant or Only malignant in ICD-O-3

Chronic myeloproliferative disorders (CMD)

  • Only valid for diagnosis years 2001+
  • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 9950-9964
  • Behavior = Malignant or Only malignant in ICD-O-3

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)

  • Only valid for diagnosis years 2001+
  • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 9980-9989
  • Behavior = Malignant or Only malignant in ICD-O-3

For the following cancer subtypes, all definitions include Malignant Behavior only, and all except those for Breast include the additional requirement that the Diagnostic confirmation is Microscopically confirmed.

Breast Cancer

  • Breast: Her2+/HR+
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Breast
    • Breast Subtype (2010+) = Her2+/HR+
  • Breast: Her2+/HR-
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Breast
    • Breast Subtype (2010+) = Her2+/HR-
  • Breast: Her2-/HR+ 
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Breast
    • Breast Subtype (2010+) = Her2-/HR+
  • Breast: Triple negative
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Breast
    • Breast Subtype (2010+) = Triple Negative

Refer to the documentation for Breast Subtype (2010+)

Esophagus Cancer

  • Esophagus: Adenocarcinoma 
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Esophagus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8140-8573
  • Esophagus: Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Esophagus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8050-8082

Lung & Bronchus

  • Lung: Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Lung and Bronchus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8051, 8052, 8070, 8071, 8072, 8073, 8074, 8075, 8076, 8078, 8083, 8084, 8090, 8094, 8120, 8123
  • Lung: Small cell carcinoma
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Lung and Bronchus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8002, 8041, 8042, 8043, 8044, 8045
  • Lung: Large cell carcinoma
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Lung and Bronchus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8012, 8013, 8014, 8021, 8034, 8082         
  • Lung: Adenocarcinoma
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Lung and Bronchus
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8015, 8050, 8140, 8141, 8143, 8144, 8145, 8147, 8190, 8201, 8211, 8250, 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8255, 8260, 8290, 8310, 8320, 8323, 8333, 8401, 8440, 8470, 8471, 8480, 8481, 8490, 8503, 8507, 8550, 8570, 8571, 8572, 8574, 8576

Thyroid

  • Thyroid: Papillary subtype
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Thyroid
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8050, 8052, 8260, 8340, 8341, 8342, 8343, 8344
  • Thyroid: Follicular subtype 
    • Site recode ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 = Thyroid
    • ICD-O-3 Histology (Type) = 8290, 8330, 8331, 8332, 8335

Race/Ethnicity Coding

The statistics on this website are available for five mutually exclusive race/ethnic groups:

  • American Indian / Alaska Native
  • Asian / Pacific Islander
  • Non-Hispanic Black
  • Hispanic
  • Non-Hispanic White

The classification of Hispanic is based on the NAACCR Hispanic Identification Algorithm (NHIA) and applied to cases with a race value of Black or White.

Asian Ethnicities

Incidence and Mortality estimates are also presented for the following Asian Ethnicities:

  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Filipino
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • South Asian

Asian ethnicity is identified by a patient's reported race, the California Cancer Registry's surname list for Vietnamese, and the NAACCR Asian/Pacific Islander Identification Algorithm.
South Asians include those whom are Asian Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Sikkimese, or Sri Lankan.
Note: Some Asian ethnicities may not be shown for certain cancer sites due to the underlying data suppression rules concerning low numerator or denominator counts.

Additional Information

For more information on race definitions, see Appendix 3 of the California Cancer Registry, Research Data Dictionary.

California Regions

To view the California counties that make up each CCR region or to contact a representative of a CCR region, please visit Contact a Regional Registry.