Codes and Frequencies
CNMELN identifies sample adults who had ever been told that they had melanoma. 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, and noted when the respondent mentioned more than three types of cancer. The 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.
The coded responses to "What kind of cancer was it?" were the basis of a series of dichotomous variables, each indicating whether a particular type of cancer, such as melanoma, was mentioned by a respondent who was ever diagnosed with cancer.
Other dichotomous variables in this series identify sample adults mentioning the following types of cancer:
- bladder cancer (CNBLAD)
- blood cancer (CNBLOD)
- bone cancer (CNBONE)
- brain cancer (CNBRAN)
- breast cancer (CNBRES)
- cervical cancer (CNCERV)
- colon cancer (CNCOLN)
- esophageal cancer (CNESOP)
- gallbladder cancer (CNGALL)
- kidney cancer (CNKIDN)
- larynx-windpipe cancer (CNLARX)
- leukemia (CNLEUK)
- liver cancer (CNLIVR)
- lung cancer (CNLUNG)
- lymphoma (CNLYMP)
- mouth, lip, or tongue cancer (CNMOTH)
- ovarian cancer (CNOVAR)
- pancreatic cancer (CNPANC)
- prostate cancer (CNPROS)
- rectal cancer (CNRECT)
- (melanoma) skin cancer (CNSKMELN)
- (non-melanoma) skin cancer (CNSKNM)
- skin cancer of an unknown type (CNSKDK)
- soft tissue (muscle or fat) cancer (CNSOFT)
- stomach cancer (CNSTOM)
- testicular cancer (CNTEST)
- throat-pharynx cancer (CNTHRO)
- thyroid cancer (CNTHYR)
- uterine cancer (CNUTER)
Those who mentioned any other kind of cancer not previously listed are identified in CNOTHR, while those who mentioned having been diagnosed with more than three types of cancer are identified in CNKIND3.
Interviewers asked the additional follow-up question, "How old were you when [this cancer] was first diagnosed?" This information was again collected for up to three specific types of cancer. Age at first diagnosis of melanoma is reported in CNMELNAG.
This variable is completely comparable for the 1997-2018 samples. Several changes introduced in 2019 may affect comparability with earlier years, including (1) the introduction of a new, additional skin melanoma cancer type variable (CNSKMELN); and (2) the introduction of a major questionnaire redesign.
In 2019, a new cancer type variable, skin melanoma cancer (CNSKMELN) (separately and in addition to the already existing melanoma cancer type (CNMELN)), was added. According to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma is a type of cancer that affects melanocytes (cells that color the skin), and is typically found in the skin, but can also appear in the eye (intraocular or ocular melanoma). Interviewers did not read the list of cancer types aloud to respondents, and instead coded the verbatim responses provided by respondents into the list of cancer types when the response was recorded. For this reason, it is not possible to know whether skin melanoma cancer in 2019 is comparable to melanoma cancer in 2018 and earlier years, or whether melanoma cancer other than skin melanoma cancer reported in 2019 is comparable to soft tissue cancer (CNSOFT) in 2018 and earlier years.
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.
- 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had cancer.
- 2019-2020: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had cancer (CANCEREV).
- 1997-2020 : SAMPWEIGHT