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Ever had cancer: More than 3 kinds mentioned

Codes and Frequencies

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CANKIND3 identifies sample adults who had ever been told that they had more than three specific kinds of cancer. Those sample adults who reported ever being told by a doctor or other health professional that they had cancer or a malignancy of any kind (CANCEREV) were asked the follow-up question, "What kind of cancer was it?"

Interviewers marked up to three kinds of cancer specified on the survey form. If the respondent mentioned no more than three types of cancer, the interviewer marked an "N" for "no more" on the survey form. If the respondent mentioned four or more types of cancer, the interviewer coded the fourth box on the form "96." In the latter case, when more than three kinds of cancer were mentioned, CANKIND3 has a value of 2 ("mentioned") in IPUMS NHIS. If only one, two, or three kinds of cancer were mentioned, CNKIND3 has a value of 1 ("not mentioned") in IHIS.

The 1997-2000 Field Representative's Manual directed, "Count the same type of cancer or malignancy on different body parts as only one kind. For example, malignant moles on the face, neck, and trunk should be counted as only one kind of cancer." Interviewers were further directed to not read the answer categories on the survey form to respondents. If the respondent used a technical term not on the form, then the interviewer was to "ask what part of the body this affected and enter that"; if the answer did not fit a category on the form, then the interviewer was to mark "other" and write down the response.

Related Variables 

The coded responses to "What kind of cancer was it?" were the basis of the following series of dichotomous variables, each indicating whether a particular type of cancer was mentioned by a respondent who was ever diagnosed with cancer:

  • larynx-windpipe cancer (CNLARX)

  • mouth, lip, or tongue cancer (CNMOTH)

  • (non-melanoma) skin cancer (CNSKNM)

  • skin cancer of an unknown type (CNSKDK)

  • soft tissue (muscle or fat) cancer (CNSOFT)

  • throat-pharynx cancer (CNTHRO)

Those who mentioned any other kind of cancer not previously listed are identified in CNOTHR.

Persons who have a code of 2 ("mentioned") in CNKIND3 should also have a code of 2 ("mentioned") in three of these other variables. In other words, CNKIND3 does not replace these other variables; it simply provides the supplemental information that the individual had been diagnosed with an additional form or forms of cancer which the survey form did not have room to record.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had cancer.


  • 1997-2018