Linking the National Health Interview Survey with the Florida Cancer Data System: A Pilot Study

Laura A. McClure, Eric A. Miller, Stacey L. Tannenbaum, Monique N. Hernandez, Jill A. MacKinnon, Yulei He, William G. LeBlanc, David J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cancer registry data are vital for the surveillance of cancer trends, but registries are limited in the number of data items that can be collected for hypothesis-driven research. Linkage with other databases can add valuable information and is a potentially effective tool for increasing our understanding of and identifying the causes of cancer and health disparities along the cancer continuum. We conducted a pilot study to link data from the 1981-2010 Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS) with data from the 1986-2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The NHIS data contain important information on sociodemographics, screening behaviors, comorbidities, risk factors, health care access, and quality of life, which are not available from FCDS. The linkage resulted in a total of 6,281 linked cases. After removing cases with a first cancer diagnosis before 1981 (prior to FCDS creation) or missing date of diagnosis information, there were 1,908 cases diagnosed with cancer prior to their NHIS interview and 4,367 cases diagnosed after their NHIS interview. The enriched data set resulting from the linkage allows us to evaluate risk factors associated with developing cancer as well as conduct analyses on cancer survivorship issues and mortality. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility and utility of a linkage between cancer registries and national health surveys, while also acknowledging the cost and challenges associated with such linkages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of registry management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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