Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD)

COSD documentation is available to download using the button below, this will allow you to access COSD v9.0 and COSD Pathology v4.0 documents. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic now affecting all aspects of NHS care, the following guidance has been drawn up to enable MDT coordinators to record the new COVID related ICD10 codes into the existing COSD dataset where applicable.

This allows for all data on patients with a diagnosis of cancer and a COVID-19 diagnosis to be recorded in one record and reduce the burden of data collection within Trusts. In addition these new data items will aid in creating PTLs, so patients do not get lost in the system if treatment is delayed for any reason.

Select COSD v9.0 downloads button to download all the relevant documentation for this version:

COSD v9.0 downloads button

See below for further information and guidance:

What is the COSD?

The Cancer Outcome and Services Data set (COSD) has been the national standard for reporting cancer in the NHS in England since January 2013.  

See Background to the COSD for more information.

COSD changes 2020 (COSD v9.0 and Pathology v4.0)

This is the new version of COSD and comes into effect from 1 April 2020.

Select the v9.0 downloads button to access all the relevant documentation required to implement and support this version of COSD.

The v9.0 downloads page contains versions of the COSD Dataset, Guidance and supporting documentation for both the main COSD dataset and the final pathology specific dataset. It also includes links to download the schema packs to support structured XML submissions.

See the NHS Digital website for all other documentation, including the new Specification and Implementation guide. 

COSD v9.0 implementation timescales image

Implementation timescale for 2020 updated COSD   

Implementation will be between 7th September 2019 and 31 March 2020. During this time please refer to both the v9.0 Implementation Guide and User Guides for COSD or v4.0 for Pathology, to help with development of the standard.

At a later stage, you will need the Technical Guides and Schema packs to write and then test your reporting modules.

Data collection using v9.0 for COSD or v4.0 for Pathology will start from 1 April 2020. There will be with a three month roll-out period between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help and support suppliers and developers.

Full conformance is required from 1 July 2020.

What's new in COSD 2020

In COSD v9.0 there has been an emphasis on improving data quality and ascertainment along with formally separating pathology away from the patient pathway elements of a cancer record. Many sections in the core now have mandatory elements within them, this will drive up data quality without creating undue burden on either the people collecting the data (within the Trusts) or those processing the data (within NCRAS).

Other new features in v9.0 include:

  • 101 new data items (18 pathology specific) to meet the changing demands of cancer treatment and outcome data, e.g. in relation to acute oncology, HPV testing for head and neck cancers
  • deletion of 80 data items, of which 12 are pathology specific
  • certain key data items are being made mandatory, to improve data quality and reduce the burden of data processing
  • the addition of choices to data items to enable clearer decision making and improve data quality
  • an update of the pathology data items to align with the Royal College of Pathologists’ ‘Core’ data sets
  • new data items within the Breast and Upper GI site specific sections
  • new data items to support the Living With and Beyond Cancer campaign
  • an improved mechanism for recording all ‘Non Primary Cancer Pathway’ to improve collection and data quality
  • realignment or movement of data items, to ensure that data nests correctly within the XML

Many data have been re-aligned across the data set into the correct higher level groupings. The data set maintains its ability to be interpreted within two subsets of data:


  • this was part of the last standard and continues to be mandated across all Trusts to supply these data in COSD XML directly from their pathology departments
  • it uses a different schema from COSD and has been formally separated within this version review and release

Patient Pathway

  • this is the data excluding Pathology, which the Cancer Services Teams need to collect. By formally removing the pathology data from their workload, this could reduce their burden of data collection by up to 30% across the whole data set
  • as these data are now collected and submitted by the pathology departments directly, it is a huge burden of duplication if we ask the Cancer Services (non-clinical) teams to transcribe the same data into COSD via a Trust's Cancer Information System

Wherever possible, duplication across the data set has now been removed and full explanations of how to collect these data within the new structure provided within the changelog of the data set.

Where there were data that are no longer part of a linked national data set (for example, Royal College of Pathologists), these have also been removed from the data set. Expert advice and guidance was provided by the Royal College of Pathologists during the review of the COSD Pathology v4.0 dataset.

Collaboration between the (CWT) data set developers and COSD have improved both datasets by removing or enhancing specific shared data items.

Submission Schedule

The schedule below gives the deadline for Providers to submit the COSD data for each calendar month of diagnosis/treatment. There is a later deadline for PAS feeds.

Feedback reports for the data submitted are available through the CancerStats website.   

 Submission dates for 2021

Month of diagnosis/treatment                            

Submission due date (MDT/Pathology) Submission due date            (PAS)  
January 2021 5 March 2021 19 March 2021
February 2021 6 April 2021 21 April 2021
March 2021 10 May 2021 24 May 2021
April 2021 8 June 2021 22 June 2021
May 2021 5 July 2021 19 July 2021
June 2021 4 August 2021 18 August 2021
July 2021 6 September 2021 20 September 2021
August 2021 5 October 2021 19 October 2021
September 2021 4 November 2021 18 November 2021
October 2021 3 December 2021 17 December 2021
November 2021 7 January 2022 21 January 2022
December 2021 7 February 2022 21 February 2022

Submission dates for 2022

Month of diagnosis/treatment                            

Submission due date (MDT/Pathology) Submission due date        (PAS)  
January 2022 7 March 2022 21 March 2022
February 2022 4 April 2022 20 April 2022
March 2022 10 May 2022 24 May 2022
April 2022 8 June 2022 22 June 2022
May 2022 7 July 2022 21 July 2022
June 2022 4 August 2022 18 August 2022
July 2022 5 September 2022 19 September 2022
August 2022 5 October 2022 19 October 2022
September 2022 4 November 2022 18 November 2022
October 2022 5 December 2022 19 December 2022
November 2022 9 January 2023 23 January 2023
December 2022 6 February 2023 20 February 2023

NCRAS Regional Liaison Managers

Eastern                                 Marianne Mollett           
East Midlands Simon Cairnes
London & South East Katrina Sung 
Northern & Yorkshire Rachel Bethal
North West Simon Cairnes
Oxford Gemma Feeney**
South West James Withers
West Midlands Gemma Feeney**

**Note: For Oxford and West Midlands, Gemma is currently on secondment. Please use email as this will be redirected to an authorised colleague.

Sign up to receive the COSD newsletter

The COSD Advisory Board produces a newsletter about twice a year and more often when needed. The newsletter provides supporting information about the progress of COSD and other important and useful information for Trusts including: 

  • audit data
  • COSD roadshows news and feedback
  • updates on cancer reporting and CancerStats
  • changes to TNM or other classifications that affect the collection of data for COSD

So that we send people information they will find useful and want to receive, we only circulate the newsletter to those who have set up an account and are on our mailing list.

If you don't currently receive the newsletter and would like to be on the mailing list,  email us at To help us make the information we circulate as useful as possible, please include these details about you:

  • name
  • job title
  • organisation
  • contact email and telephone number

We'll then set up an account for you to receive future newsletters. Let us know if you'd also like to receive copies of previous newsletters and we'll send these to you. 

If you don't currently receive the newsletter and would like to be on the mailing list, please can you use the join our mailing list link, completing all the fields and ensure to select COSD Newsletter and the reCAPTCHA at the bottom of the form. When the next newsletter is published you will then automatically be sent this.

Anyone who would find the newsletter and other information we circulate useful can join our mailing list. These include Consultants, Cancer Managers, MDT Coordinators and IT or audit experts. From time to time, we also get in touch by email to check that the details we have on our database are up to date and you still want to be included on the mailing list.

Help and feedback

Contact the COSD helpdesk: COSDenquiries at phe dot link  with queries, requests for further information, comments and suggestions for newsletter content or possible new data to be considered for future COSD version changes.

We value feedback and suggestions for improvements to COSD. Change requests will be reviewed quarterly by the COSD Advisory group and where agreed, will form part of future iterations of COSD.