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Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults aged 40 years and older, SIGEV indicates whether they ever had a sigmoidoscopy.

SIGEV is one of a series of periodically-asked questions covering cancer screening practices. There are several related variables with information about when individuals received their most recent sigmoidoscopy:

  • SIGLNO: Time since last sigmoidoscopy: Number of units
  • SIGLTP: Time since last sigmoidoscopy: Time period
  • SIGLDMO: Calendar month of last sigmoidoscopy
  • SIGLDYR: Calendar year of last sigmoidoscopy
  • SIGLESTY: Time since last sigmoidoscopy: Grouped year estimate
  • SIGLGYRR1: Time since last sigmoidoscopy: Grouped year recode 1 (2000 method)

  • SIGLGYRR2: Time since last sigmoidoscopy: Grouped year recode 2 (2005 method)

According to the 2010 and 2015 Field Representative's Manuals, this and related questions were asked: determine the practices and knowledge of the public with regard to cancer screening practices. This includes practices that are known to reduce mortality from cancer and some for which evidence of effectiveness is not available. The 2010 Cancer Screening Supplement will be the first time questions about having a breast MRI, virtual colonoscopy, and lung x-ray are in the NHIS.

The Manual further provided the following definition for cancer:

A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

The Manual also provided the following statement regarding how the data from the Cancer Screening questions would be used:

...It also allows for comparisons among subgroups of the population to examine factors that may influence ... cancer screening exam practices. Together, this information will be useful in developing public health and health services programs to increase... the use of regular and effective screening.

Beginning in 2019, the variable COLSIGEV indicates whether or not the person had a sigmoidoscopy. IPUMS NHIS staff constructed COLSIGEV for 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2018 using information from SIGEV and COLEV to have a comparable indicator for whether someone had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.


There are no comparability issues.


  • 2010; 2013; 2015; 2018: Sample adults age 40+.


  • 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018