Feasibility of collecting patient-generated health data to enhance cancer registry surveillance



Patient-generated health data (PGHD) can provide information about population-level patterns in health outcomes that patients experience during cancer survivorship. Cancer registries do not collect PGHD as part of routine operations. This study assessed the feasibility of online collection of PGHD to augment cancer registry data.


Cancer survivors who (1) were aged 50 or older, (2) had been diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer, and (3) received their diagnosis within 10 years of the study start date were recruited at four Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer registry program sites. Each site was required to collect PGHD at baseline and a future time point to assess the feasibility of longitudinal methods. All sites collected data through a survey or questionnaire(s); each site employed unique methods to administer their surveys.


Across the sites, initial recruitment appeared to be the most challenging aspect in establishing a longitudinal cohort from the SEER sampling frame, with participation rates ranging from 3 to 17%. However, once enrolled, the percentage of survivors completing surveys at multiple time points was relatively high, ranging from 48 to 91%.


Augmenting cancer registry data with longitudinally collected PGHD is feasible, although more work is needed to overcome barriers of initial patient recruitment and adoption of online PGHD collection techniques for public health surveillance.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Registry data, including PGHD, can provide the medical community with patient perspectives on treatment effects and quality of life and can offer cancer survivors information about symptom management and advances in research.

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We thank Dr. Salma Shariff-Marco (University of California San Francisco), Dr. Edward Peters (Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center), Dr. Elizabeth Chrischilles (University of Iowa), and Dr. Felicity Harper (Wayne State University) and their study teams for the participation on the patient-generated health data project to enhance Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data collection. We also thank colleagues in the SEER program at the National Cancer Institute for their interest in promoting this emerging area of research.


This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute under contract HHSN261201300011I.

Author information




Kristen N. Mangold: formal analysis, writing–original draft, writing–review and editing, and project administration. Lisa Gallicchio: formal analysis, writing–original draft, and writing–review and editing. Anna Gaysynsky: conceptualization, and writing–review and editing. Erin E. Kent: writing–original draft, and writing–review and editing. Kristen Constantine: writing–review and editing and data curation. Bradford W. Hesse: conceptualization, writing–original draft, and writing–review and editing.

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Correspondence to Kristen N. Mangold.

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Mangold, K.N., Gallicchio, L., Gaysynsky, A. et al. Feasibility of collecting patient-generated health data to enhance cancer registry surveillance. J Cancer Surviv (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00970-z

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  • Patient-generated health data
  • Cancer registry
  • Survivorship
  • Patient-reported outcome measures