SEER*Stat Frequently Asked Questions

Local and Client-Server Mode

  1. What is client-server mode? Why would I use it?
  2. How can I switch from client-server to local mode in SEER*Stat?
  3. Why are there two release schedules for SEER*Stat Updates in client-server mode: Update and Delayed Update?
  4. SEER*Stat tried to auto-update in client-server mode but my IT staff had not approved the new installation. Can I access the previous version while they evaluate the update?

Firewall and Security Issues with SEER*Stat's Client-Server Mode

  1. What is a "connection refused" error? Why can't I use SEER*Stat in client-server mode?
  2. How should my firewall be configured?
  3. What data are transferred from my PC in client-server mode?
  4. Is encryption used when transferring information on the Internet (in client-server mode)?
  5. What is the IP address of the SEER*Stat server?
  6. My username and password aren't working. What could be causing this?
  7. Why do I get an "Invalid Data Location" alert when I log into SEER*Stat?

SEER*Stat Installation

  1. The installation method I used did not work. What can I do?
  2. My IT department has to evaluate and approve any software updates. Can they review the new version while I continue working in the previous version?
  3. Can I get e-mail notifications before the SEER*Stat software is released?

Citations

  1. Is there a suggested citation for SEER*Stat?

Data

  1. Is US mortality data available for SEER*Stat?
  2. Can I use SEER*Stat to analyze my own data?
  3. Is there a data dictionary and other documentation for data provided with SEER*Stat?

Variables

  1. Can I share my user-defined variables with a colleague?
  2. Can user-defined and merged variables be used in selection statements?

Expected Survival

  1. Can I use an "Expected Survival Rates Table" in software other than SEER*Stat?

Comparing Results

  1. I think results from two SEER*Stat sessions should match but they don't. Why?

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Local and Client-Server Mode

  1. What is client-server mode? Why would I use it?

    SEER*Stat can operate in one of two modes, "local" and "client-server". In local mode, all processing and data are local to your PC environment; that is, your PC performs all calculations, and the program and data files are stored on the PC's hard drive, your local network, or a DVD. In client-server mode, the SEER*Stat software installed on your PC is the client and contacts the SEER server via the Internet to access data and perform calculations.

    • Advantages of Local Mode
      • Internet Connection Not Required. If running on a laptop or a PC that is not connected to the Internet, use local mode (see switch to local mode for instructions).
    • Advantages of Client-Server Mode
      • Data. You have access to a wider range of SEER incidence databases than are available on the DVD. US mortality data are only available in client-server mode.
      • Auto-updates. You automatically receive new releases of the SEER*Stat program. (Note that if using SEER*Stat in local mode, new releases of SEER*Stat can be downloaded.)

    The SEER*Stat help system contains a more detailed comparison of the system's local and client-server modes.

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  2. How can I switch from client-server to local mode in SEER*Stat?

    If SEER*Stat is in client-server mode but you are unable to access the Internet, then you must switch to local mode.

    • First, the SEER data provided with SEER*Stat must be available on DVD, your hard drive, or your network. DVDs containing the SEER research data are available via US mail. Alternatively, the compressed data file can be downloaded. Since you submitted a signed agreement form to obtain client-server access to the data, you will not need to submit another form. For more information or to submit a request, see Request Access to the SEER Research Data.
    • Once you have local access to the data, you must add a local address to the Data Location in SEER*Stat Preferences. Specifically, the Data Location must point to the folder containing the "database.ini" file.
      • If you are using the SEER*Stat DVDs, put the disk in your computer's DVD drive. Start SEER*Stat. Select Preferences from the Profiles menu. Click Add Local and browse to the data folder on your DVD drive, usually D:\data" (assuming that D is the DVD drive, be sure to use the correct drive letter). Your new data location will be added to the list. By default, it will be at the bottom of the list, and will be active.
      • If you have downloaded or copied the data to a network drive or your hard disk, use Browse to select the correct path.

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  3. Why are there two release schedules for SEER*Stat Updates in client-server mode: Update and Delayed Update?

    There are two release schedules to accommodate those users whose organization requires their IT department to approve the new version of SEER*Stat before installing it. By signing up for e-mail update alerts and choosing Delayed Update, users give their IT staff sufficient time to review and approve the software before it is automatically updated.

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  4. SEER*Stat tried to auto-update in client-server mode but my IT staff had not approved the new installation. Can I access the previous version while they evaluate the update?

    Yes. You are able to access the previous version of SEER*Stat by changing the server setting of the Data Location in the SEER*Stat preferences. Please see the section titled "Delayed Update for Software Releases" on the Auto-updating in SEER*Stat page for information on how to do this.

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Firewall and Security Issues with SEER*Stat's Client-Server Mode

  1. What is a "connection refused" error? Why can't I use SEER*Stat in client-server mode?

    Your firewall may be restricting communication between your PC and the SEER server (over the Internet). Your firewall needs to allow communication via ports 2038 and 2039. This problem is not that uncommon, your network administrator may be able to fix it. You should check with your network administrator. Please provide them with the information in the "How should my firewall be configured?" FAQ.

    If your network administrator is unable to allow the necessary communication to access the data via the Internet then you will need to store the data locally. The SEER data are available on DVD. In addition, the compressed data file is available for download. Since you submitted a signed agreement form to obtain client-server access to the data, you will not need to submit another form. For more information or to submit a request, see Request Access to the SEER Research Data. Once you have received the DVD or downloaded the compressed data file, you will need to switch from client-server to local mode in SEER*Stat

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  2. How should my firewall be configured?

    For SEER*Stat to work in client-server mode, the desktop client interacts with the server at SEER using TCP sockets via ports 2038 and 2039. The client software must be able to initiate communication by opening the socket but must also allow information to return on the same socket (see the next question regarding the information that is transferred).

    Please note that your firewall only needs to allow outbound communications and "return" communications established from the initial outbound communication. That is, it does not need to allow inbound communications initiated by the SEER*Stat server. The SEER*Stat server never attempts to open a communications socket on the desktop PC.

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  3. What data are transferred from my PC in client-server mode?

    Communications include username-password authentication, the server letting the desktop know what databases the specified user has access to, communications of analysis parameters to the server, and results (the calculated statistics) being returned from the server.

    In some situations, standard population or expected rate files that you created with SEER*Prep may be transferred to the SEER servers. These files are transferred if they are used in a SEER*Stat session that accesses an incidence or mortality database on the SEER server. When your standard population or expected rate files are transferred to the SEER servers, the files are stored temporarily and deleted as soon as your analysis is finished. Incidence and mortality databases stored on your local computer systems are only accessed by your PC, and never transferred across the Internet.

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  4. Is encryption used when transferring information on the Internet (in client-server mode)?

    Yes, as of version 5.2.x, information transferred between your PC and the SEER*Stat server is encrypted. (Exception: the initial step of checking the version of SEER*Stat installed on the client is not an encrypted transfer. This communication does not require encryption because your username and password are not transferred.)

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  5. What is the IP address of the SEER*Stat server?

    We recommend you use "seerstat.imsweb.com" for your configuration since the specific IP address is subject to change. Your system should query the Internet domain name servers for the current IP addresses. If this is not possible, the current IP address associated with "seerstat.imsweb.com" is 144.202.234.142.

    "seerstat.imsweb.com" was last changed on 8/19/2013 from 204.132.58.77.

    As of 9/23/2013, "seerstat.cancer.gov" will be discontinued with the IP address 204.132.58.77.

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  6. My username and password aren't working. What could be causing this?

    SEER*Stat will provide an error message that specifically indicates whether the problem is an unrecognized username or if it is an invalid password.

    If the problem is the username:

    • Verify that you are entering the correct case; SEER*Stat's usernames are case-sensitive.
    • Be sure that your username is current. If the date in your username is not the same as the current data submission then your username has expired. For example, the November 2013 submission of data was released in April 2014. Therefore, "Nov2013" is part of all current usernames. All users must sign a data agreement form for the current data submission. SEER*Stat usernames expire on or about April 15th of each year, when new research data are released. We try to notify all users by e-mail a week or two before this occurs. You must request a new username and provide a signed agreement form for the new data submission. Once this is processed, a new username will be assigned.
    • If you have forgotten your username, please send an e-mail to SEER*Stat Technical Support. Please include your full name.

    If the problem is the password:

    • Verify that you are entering the correct case; SEER*Stat's passwords are case-sensitive.
    • If you have forgotten your password, please send an em ail to SEER*Stat Technical Support to have your password reset. Please include your full name and username. When you receive the new password, it is strongly recommended that you change it immediately.
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  8. Why do I get an "Invalid Data Location" alert when I log into SEER*Stat?

    The SEER*Stat servers moved a while back and the old server address: ssp://seerstat.cancer.gov:2038 is no longer valid. The correct address is: ssp://seerstat.imsweb.com:2038. To update your data locations:

    1. Open the Preferences dialog from the Profile menu.
      • If you have both the old and new data locations set, then you just need to remove the old seerstat.cancer.gov address.
      • If you only have the old address, after removing it you will need to add the new address.
    2. To add the new address, click the Add Server... button and accept the defaults.
      • If you are not currently using the latest version of SEER*Stat, once you make the changes to the data location, you will be prompted to auto-update.

    If after changing your preferences to the correct server address you receive any connection refused or connection timed-out error messages, then that problem will be due to restrictions imposed by your firewall. If you had to make any firewall exceptions to get SEER*Stat to work previously, these exceptions would need to be modified to account for the new server. See the IP address of the SEER*Stat server FAQ for more information.

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SEER*Stat Installation

  1. The installation method I used did not work. What can I do?

    Some SEER*Stat users have reported problems when installing new versions of the software.

    If auto-update does not work:

    If you are operating in client-server mode and receive a warning that the automatic update did not work:

    • Right-click the SEER*Stat icon located on your desktop or on the Start menu, and select "Run as administrator". When SEER*Stat opens, follow the auto-update procedure.
    • If that doesn't work, manually install the software:
      1. First check your preferences from the Profile menu and note your "Data Locations" and "Other Locations" settings.
      2. Uninstall the current version of SEER*Stat.
      3. Install the new version using the program file on the SEER*Stat Installation page.
      4. After the installation, verify and reset your preferences if needed.

    If manual installation does not work:

    Download the SEER*Stat BIN folder to your computer.

    • Save this self-extracting ZIP file containing the SEER*Stat bin directory to your computer.
    • When prompted, specify that the unzipped files are extracted to the location where you want SEER*Stat software to run (e.g., c:\program files\seerstat\)
    • If this is the first time that SEER*Stat has been installed on your computer, you will need to set the primary data location in SEER*Stat's Preferences. See Auto-updating in SEER*Stat for details and instructions.
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  3. My IT department has to evaluate and approve any software updates. Can they review the new version while I continue working in the previous version?

    Yes. Since SEER*Stat has two update schedules, one immediate and one delayed, you are able to work with the old version of SEER*Stat while the IT department addresses the newer version. For more information on how to do this, please see Auto-updating in SEER*Stat for details and instructions.

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  4. Can I get e-mail notifications before the SEER*Stat software is released?

    Yes. To sign up for e-mail notifications, please visit the Sign-up for SEER*Stat E-mail Updates page and follow the posted instructions.

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Citations

  1. Is there a suggested citation for SEER*Stat?

    A citation for SEER*Stat, indicating the software version, is recommended. See Suggested Citation on SEER*Stat's help menu for the specific citation. This and the citation for the SEER Data are described in Citations for SEER Databases and SEER*Stat Software.

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Data

  1. Is US mortality data available for SEER*Stat?

    US Mortality data can be accessed using the client-server version of SEER*Stat. To use SEER*Stat in client-server mode, please refer to the "Internet Access" section of Accessing the SEER Research Data.

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  2. Can I use SEER*Stat to analyze my own data?

    Yes. Use the SEER*Prep software to convert your data to the format required by SEER*Stat.

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  3. Is there a data dictionary and other documentation for the data provided with SEER*Stat?

    Yes, the data dictionary for the SEER incidence data files, as well as documentation for other databases and associated variables is available on the Documentation for the Data Files and the SEER*Stat Databases pages.

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Variables

  1. Can I share my user-defined variables with a colleague?

    Yes. In fact, there are two ways to go about this. One solution is appropriate for occasional transfers and for transfers between colleagues not connected by a local area network (LAN). The other is a more elegant and robust solution but requires the colleagues to have access to the same LAN.

    User-defined variables can be exported from the data dictionary by one user. This export file (*.fmx) can be sent to a colleague using any normal file transfer method, such as attaching it to an e-mail message. The recipient can then import the file into their data dictionary. Use the Export and Import buttons on SEER*Stat's data dictionary window. When exporting, notice the location and name of the file at the top of the export window. Send this file to your colleague.

    To share a variable with a colleague at another institution, it may be necessary to use the above method. However, if you both have access to the same network, it may be easier to use the same user-defined format libraries. First, select a folder on your local area network that is accessible to all. For this discussion, suppose that location is "\\fileserv1\SEERStat". Each of you must select Preferences from SEER*Stat's Profiles menu. Under Other Locations, set the User Variables location to "\\fileserv1\SEERStat". Now, all parties will read from and write to the same dictionary files. Each of you can easily switch the Use Variables location back to your personal location at any time, simply enter a path or use the drop-down control to select a previously used setting.

    The practice of maintaining multiple locations for user-defined variables also provides a convenient method for maintaining project-specific variables. You can easily switch variable locations when working on a specific project. This may keep your data dictionary from becoming large and difficult to maintain.

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  2. Can user-defined and merged variables be used in selection statements?

    User-defined variables can be used in selection statements; merged variables can not.

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Expected Survival

  1. Can I use an "Expected Survival Table" in software other than SEER*Stat?

    Yes. Create a SEER*Stat matrix showing the expected survival table. Do this by creating and executing a Case Listing Session using the appropriate expected survival database. Once you have created a SEER*Stat matrix with the correct information, select Export from the Matrix menu to export the data to a text file. In the export file, note that the variable named Expected Rate is the number of persons (per one million) expected to survive one year.

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Comparing Results

  1. I think results from two SEER*Stat sessions should match but they don't. Why?

    We have found that users expecting two sets of results to match have often used different selections for behavior. That is, in situ cases are included in one session but not the other. Be sure to check the following:

    1. Were the two sets of results generated using different versions of SEER*Stat? If so, was one using 5.1.13 and later but the other prior to 5.1.13?
    2. If the answer to #1 was yes -- Was a selection for "malignant cases only" applied in both analyses? SEER*Stat 5.1.13 and later sets the "Select Malignant Cases Only" option to ON by default. If you had not specifically selected malignant behavior on the selection tab with SEER*Stat 5.1.12 (and prior), then you were including in situ cancers in your analyses. For most years (1973-1995) this would even include in situ cervical cancers when they were reportable to SEER.

    The "correct" setting for this option is specific to your analyses and the disease of interest. Most analyses that we deal with are done for "malignant cases only", however, there are investigators that include in situ tumors in their studies.

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