Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Surgical Tumour Resections in England


The National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) in partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has, for the first time, produced population-based statistics on the patients recorded to have received chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical tumour resections for their tumour in England. Despite the fairly basic nature of these statistics, they have not previously been available across all cancer types due to variation in data quality and completeness throughout England.

We are now able to routinely report these numbers of patients who received treatment, which should help us to identify trends and variation, to hopefully improve outcomes for future patients.

The first set of releases provides an overview of treatments received by patients in England, by cancer site and stage at diagnosis, for the majority of cancers. This overview focuses on the time period following diagnosis within which most patients' first course of treatment occurred, although adjuvant and neo-adjuvent treatments may be captured as well as the primary treatment. This provides the foundation for future research to improve care and outcomes for patients. Future outputs will investigate variation, and the impact of key patient and clinical characteristics.

The short report, workbook and Standard Operating Procedure documents have been updated in February 2018, replacing the previous versions. This update was required to correct a minor error in the method used to identify radiotherapy. The correction removes brachytherapy from the definition of radiotherapy, which was previously included in error. This notably affects the proportion of tumours recorded to have been treated with radiotherapy for two cancer sites – uterine and prostate.

Outputs available

The short report describes the main results of the treatment overview presented in the workbook. This report aims to 1) explain how the data should be interpreted, 2) summarise key results from the accompanying excel workbook, and 3) highlight the methodology used.

The workbook provides an overview of the treatment used in England during 2013 - 2014. This workbook presents the numbers and percentages of tumours diagnosed in England in 2013 - 2014 recorded as receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy or tumour resection. The results are presented by cancer site, year and stage at diagnosis.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) entitled 'CAS-SOP #4' describes the methodology used. The purpose of this SOP is to describe the method of linking treatment tables to the cancer registration data in the Cancer Analysis System (CAS). This allows basic treatment flags to be created; recording whether there was chemotherapy, tumour resection, or radiotherapy recorded following cancer diagnosis. This was the basis of all outputs available on this webpage.This work has been used in a number of CRUK outputs, namely health professional pages on Cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics, a science blog and a press release.