General Notes

  • The 2016-2020 update utilizes a new race variable that is recommended by the SEER Program: “Race and origin (recommended by SEER)”. This is a system-supplied merged variable and includes five mutually exclusive race and ethnicity categories that SEER uses for reporting cancer statistics: non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic. While this will not affect the overall cancer incidence rates, the White and Black incidence and mortality rates will reflect the non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black categories. For more information, please follow this link:

Cancer Overview

  • What is considered a cancer case?
    • A cancer surveillance case is any reportable cancer as defined by a set of uniform criteria used to define cancer for public health surveillance. If a person is diagnosed with breast cancer and colorectal cancer, each of these cancer diagnoses will be counted as a separate cancer case.
  • What are cancer incidence rates?
    • Cancer incidence rates are a standard way to report the new cancer cases occurring in a population.  They are typically reported as the number of new cancer cases per 100,000 people per year.
  • What are cancer mortality rates?
    • Cancer mortality rates are a standard way to report the number of deaths that are attributable to cancer.  Cancer mortality rates are typically reported as the number of deaths attributed to a certain cancer per 100,000 people per year.
  • How are the United States (U.S.) incidence rates estimated?
    • The U.S. incidence rates are estimates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute’s 17 regions.
  • Which morphology codes are included in each cancer site grouping?
    • The adult cancers (ages 20+) are grouped in accordance with the SEER Site Recode.
  • Are the rates age-adjusted?
    • Yes, the incidence and mortality rates are age adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population (19 age groups – Census P25-1130).

Types of Cancer

  • Why does the trend line for the U.S. begin with the year 2000?
    • The data that we use to estimate the incidence rates for the United States is the cancer incidence data from SEER’s 18 regions (which represents 25% of the U.S. population).  This database begins with diagnosis year 2000, because this was when several of the 18 regions joined the SEER program.
  • Why are mortality rates unavailable for Triple-Negative Female Breast Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Small Cell Lung Cancer?
    • Cancer mortality data is stratified by the SEER Cause of Death Recode, which is not broken down into cancer subtypes.

Cancer Stage

  • What is cancer stage?
    • Cancer stage is an assessment of the severity of a cancer at the time of diagnosis.
  • What does it mean when a cancer is discovered at an early stage?
    • If a cancer is discovered at an early stage, it means that the abnormal cells (in situ) or the cancer (localized) remain within the part of the body that it originated.
  • What does it mean when a cancer is discovered at a late stage?
    • If a cancer is discovered at a late stage, it means that the cancer has spread to the areas surrounding the point of origin (regional) or that the cancer has spread to other sites in the body, far from the original place that the cancer developed (distant).
  • How are stage at diagnosis percentages calculated?
    • Stage at diagnosis percentage is calculated by dividing the stage in question (numerator) by all stages (denominator). The denominator includes counts of unknown/unstaged and in situ (breast and colorectal cancers only).
  • Which stage variable is used for the analysis?
    • Combined Summary Stage (2004+) was utilized for the staging variable for this update (2014-2018). For previous versions of the visualization, Summary Stage 2000 was utilized, however, this variable is no longer valid in the research database that goes through diagnosis year 2018.

Cancer Survival

  • What is 5-year relative survival?
    • A survival rate describes the percentage of people who are alive at a certain interval after being diagnosed with cancer. In this visualization, 5-year relative survival is presented, which illustrates the percent of people who are alive 5 years after their cancer diagnosis and takes into account deaths from other causes in that same population.

Pediatric Cancers

Parish & Regional Data

  • Which parishes are included in each region?
New Orleans RegionJefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard
Baton Rouge RegionAscension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupée, Baton Rouge, West Feliciana
Southeast RegionAssumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, Terrebonne
Acadiana RegionAcadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermillion
Southwest RegionAllen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis
Central RegionAvoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, La Salle, Rapides, Vernon, Winn
Northwest RegionBienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Webster
Northeast RegionCaldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll
Northlake RegionLivingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington
Industrial CorridorAscension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, West Baton Rouge
  • How do you read the Jitter plot?
    • The dark purple vertical line represents the state’s cancer incidence rate. The light purple vertical line represents the region’s cancer incidence rate. The circles represent the cancer incidence rates of each of the 64 parishes. The size of these circles is dependent upon the number of cases in that parish.

Cancer Survivors

  • Who is a cancer survivor?
    • A cancer survivor is a person that has EVER received a cancer diagnosis, from the day of diagnosis to the end of his or her life. This is not the same as being “in remission.” Epidemiologists refer to this as cancer prevalence (people previously diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. Prevalence doesn’t tell us anything about cancer risk (who is more likely to get cancer); it is used to tell us the characteristics of those who have been diagnosed that live in our communities now.
  • Are these numbers exact?
    • No. These are estimates, based on models and where survivors lived when they were diagnosed. Geographical distribution may have shifted over time. Additionally, because counts below 16 are not released to protect the identity of the cancer survivors, the sum of the parish level data may not add up to the regional or statewide totals.
  • If a parish has a high number of cancer survivors, does this mean that people in that parish are at an increased risk of getting cancer?
    • No. The number of survivors does not indicate risk of getting or dying from cancer. A large number of cancer survivors in an age group, a parish, or a certain sex or race DO NOT indicate a higher cancer risk in those groups. The number of cancer survivors tend to align with the demographics of the general population. For example, if there are more prostate cancer survivors who are white than black, it doesn’t mean white men have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer. It means there are more white men in the population than black men.
  • Prevalence is the number of cancer survivors alive on a certain day. Which date was used for these cancer survivor (prevalence) estimates?
    • The numbers represent the estimated number of cancer survivors on January 1, 2018.


The Louisiana Tumor Registry is supported by the SEER Program (NCI), the National Program of Cancer Registries (CDC), the State of Louisiana, the LSU Health Sciences Center – New Orleans, and host institutions.

In addition to these funding agencies, the LTR would like to thank healthcare facilities and providers who consistently submit reports on cancer diagnoses in support of the registry.

The LTR encourages the use of its data and makes every effort to assist users to use and interpret cancer registry data correctly.  Opinions or conclusions about cancer risks are those of the data user.

Do you have comments or questions about the data visualization?
Please email We look forward to hearing from our users!