Question on data on Multiple Myeloma


I want to do some research on disparities in Multiple Myeloma, I saw a similar publication that used NHIS dataset. I was looking at the variables and was wondering if it is possible to identify cases with this disease or if due to small numbers it is not asked on the survey?


Without knowing the specific publication you are referencing, I can’t definitively say which variables the authors used. However, I have some suggestions of where you might look to get started.

The NHIS Cancer Control Supplement does not ask specifically about multiple myeloma; though it does ask about blood cancer (and records leukemia and lymphoma separately); you can view the list of blood & bone cancer variables here. It is possible that myeloma is identified in restricted use versions of the data, but I didn’t see this listed in a brief review of the restricted variables.

The National Center for Health Statistics releases a file of adults in the NHIS linked to the National Death Index records (called the NHIS Linked Mortality File or NHIS-LMF). The NHIS-LMF is updated periodically to incorporate additional decedents; over time, these updates have obscured the available cause of death detail. More detailed cause of death information for the NHIS-LMF that covers decedents through December 31, 2004 do include multiple myeloma, but later vintages of the NHIS-LMF do not. IPUMS NHIS currently retains variables from previous vintages of the NHIS-LMF (e.g., more detailed cause of death in the variable MORTUCOD), but common variables (e.g., the mortality status variable MORTSTAT and the weight variables MORTWT and MORTWTSA) reflect the most recent release. We have previously discussed releasing vintage-specific mortality weights to support researchers interested in using the more detailed variables that aren’t available in the later versions of the NHIS-LMF; I have a request out to a colleague to inquire about the status of that work.

I hope this gives you some ideas of where to get started. Please follow up with additional questions.