A method to estimate site-specific cancer mortality rates using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program incidence and survival data is proposed, calculated, and validated. This measure, the life table-derived mortality rate (LTM), is the sum of the product of the probability of being alive at the beginning of an interval times the probability of dying of the cancer of interest ... [Show full abstract] during the interval times the annual age-adjusted incidence rate for each year that data have been collected. When the LTM is compared to death certificate mortality rates (DCM) for organ sites with no known misclassification problems, the LTM was within 10 percent of the death certificate rates for 13 of 14 organ sites. In the sites that have problems with the death certificate rates, there were major disagreements between the LTM and DCM. The LTM was systematically lower than the DCM for sites if there was overreporting on the death certificates, and the LTM was higher than the DCM for sites if there was underreporting. The limitations and applications of the LTM are detailed.