National Cancer Institute
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Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Health Disparities Calculator (HD*Calc)

The Health Disparities Calculator (HD*Calc) is statistical software that generates multiple summary measures for evaluating and monitoring health disparities. HD*Calc can be used either as an extension of SEER*Stat, which allows users to import Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, or on its own with other population-based health data, such as from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS), and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). HD*Calc is useful for anyone interested in health and cancer-related disparities as well as those interested in learning about summary measures of health disparities.

Data such as cancer rates, survival, and stage at diagnosis, which are categorized by groups such as ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status and geographic areas, can be used with HD*Calc to generate 11 absolute and relative summary measures of disparity. The output can be presented in both tabular and graphic formats, which will allow users to specify various conditions and formats. HD*Calc also provides pair-wise comparisons that allow users to explore underlying trends in the data.

This application extends the work published in the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Monograph Series entitled Methods for Measuring Cancer Disparities, which evaluates measures of health disparities included in HD*Calc. The monograph discusses major issues that may affect the choice of summary measures of disparity and systematically reviews methods used in health disparities research.

HD*Calc is located on the SEER Web site. This work is supported by the Applied Research Program (ARP) and Surveillance Research Program (SRP) within the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Several peer-reviewed articles have been published on assessing health disparities measures. You may be interested in the peer-reviewed articles below, which discuss assessment of health disparities measures and are relevant to HD*Calc.

Harper S, King NB, Meersman SC, Reichman ME, Breen N, Lynch J. Implicit value judgments in the measurement of health inequalities. Milbank Q 2010 Mar;88(1):4-29. [View Abstract]

Harper S, Lynch J, Meersman SC, Breen N, Davis WW, Reichman MC. Trends in area-socioeconomic and race-ethnic disparities in breast cancer incidence, stage at diagnosis, screening, mortality, and survival among women ages 50 years and over (1987-2005). Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009 Jan;18(1):121-31. [View Abstract]

Harper S, Lynch J, Meersman SC, Breen N, Davis WW, Reichman ME. An overview of methods for monitoring social disparities in cancer with an example using trends in lung cancer incidence by area-socioeconomic position and race-ethnicity, 1992-2004. Am J Epidemiol 2008 Apr 15;167(8):889-99. [View Abstract]

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Last modified:
02 Nov 2012
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