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Number of kinds of cancer


CANCERNO is a 2-digit-numeric variable.

04: 4+ cancers (2019-forward)
06: 6+ cancers (1992 only)
07: NIU
97: Unknown-refused
98: Unknown-not ascertained
99: Unknown-don't know


For sample adults, CANCERNO reports a count of the total number of different kinds of cancer they report ever having been told they had by a doctor or other health professional. Prior to 2019, CANCERNO was only asked of sample adults who were ever diagnosed with cancer. Beginning in 2019, this variable is topcoded at 4+ cancers, whereas it was topcoded at 6+ cancers in 1992.


Changes in the universe, topcodes, and the 2019 questionnaire redesign affect comparability of CANCERNO. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1992: Sample persons age 18+ in quarters 1 and 2, and in 2 weeks of quarter 3 who were ever diagnosed with cancer.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1992, 2019-2022