Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD)

There are currently two versions of the COSD dataset available - the current version, v6.0 (2015) and v7.0 (2017), the new version which is being implemented.

Select the v6.0 or v7.0 downloads button to download all the relevant documentation for that version:

   COSD v6.0 downloads button         COSD v7.0 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.

Why two versions of the COSD are currently available

So that the COSD remains up to date and fit for purpose, we need to identify and submit changes on a regular basis. 

The official notification of 2015 and 2017 changes have been issued by NHS Digital (formerly the HSCIC).

See the NHS Digital website for the COSD Information Standards (SCCI1521 Amd 17/2014 and SCCI1521 Amd 01/2016) documentation, including the revised Specification, Change Notice and Implementation Guide.

During the the implementation period for COSD v7.0 (18 August 2016 to 31 March 2017) all the relevant documentation to implement and support both v6.0 and v7.0 need to be available for download. 

COSD changes 2015 (v6.0)

This is the current version until 31 March 2017.

Select the v6.0 download button to access all the relevant documentation required to implement and support this version of COSD.

The v6.0 downloads page contains versions of the COSD Dataset, Schema Packs, Guidance and supporting documentation for both the main COSD dataset and the final pathology specific schema, to support structured XML submissions from January 2016.

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

COSD changes 2017 (v7.0)

This is the new version of COSD and comes into effect from 1 April 2017.

Select the v7.0 downloads button to access all the relevant documentation required to implement and support this version of COSD.

The v7.0 downloads page contains versions of the COSD Dataset, Schema Packs, Guidance and supporting documentation for both the main COSD dataset and the final pathology specific dataset and schema to support structured XML submissions.

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

COSD v7.0 implementation timescales image

Implementation timescale for v7.0   

Implementation will be between 18 August 2016 and 31 March 2017.  During this time, please refer to both the v7.0 Implementation Guide and User Guide to help with development of the standard.

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

Data collection using v7.0 will start from 1 April 2017. There will be with a three month roll-out period between 1 April 2017 and 30 June 2017 to help and support suppliers and developers.

Full conformance is required from 1 July 2017. All data submitted (wherever possible) to be back-dated to 1 April 2017 after upgrade.

What's new in COSD v7.0

In v7.0, there are new data to help identify and analyse:

  • the Trust/Organisation where the patient was diagnosed
  • an unplanned return to theatre flag
  • the surgeon (or surgeons), who were responsible for each surgical episode
  • molecular and biomarker testing

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


  • this was part of the last standard and is now mandated across all Trusts to supply these data in COSD XML directly from their pathology departments
  • it uses a different schema from COSD. There are unique linkage for pathology and it therefore requires its own schema

Patient Pathway

  • this is the data excluding Pathology, which the Cancer Services Teams need to collect. By 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 Systems)

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 (e.g. Royal College of Pathologists), these have also been removed from the data set.

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.  

Month of diagnosis/treatment Submission due date (MDT/Pathology)
November 2016 09 January 2017
December 2016 06 February 2017
January 2017 07 March 2017
Febuary 2017 04 April 2017
March 2017 10 May 2017
April 2017 06 June 2017
May 2017 05 July 2017
June 2017 04 August 2017
July 2017 05 September 2017
August 2017 05 October 2017
September 2017 03 November 2017
October 2017 05 December 2017
November 2017 09 January 2018
December 2017 05 February 2018








NCRAS Regional Liaison Managers

Eastern Marianne Mollett  Tel: 01223 724 449  -  Mob: 07585 883 534 
East Midlands Karen Graham  
London & South East  Katrina Sung  Tel: 02036 820 723  -  Mob:07468 716 262 
Northern & Yorkshire  Laura Prenton  Tel: 0113 8557 264  -  Mob: 07500 227 791
North West Karen Graham  
Oxford  Matthew Lynch  Tel: 0121 2149 154  -  Mob: 07500 559 516
South West  James Withers  Tel: 0117 9069 056  -  Mob: 07792 912 255
West Midlands  Matthew Lynch  Tel: 0121 2149 154  -  Mob: 07500 559 516


A revised Conformance Framework has been published to align with v7.0. This is the current Framework and is available from the v7.0 Downloads webpage. 

This Framework v6.1a, has been amended to take account of the changes within v7.0 and will be reviewed at the end of 2017.

The Conformance Framework provides:

  • an outline of the conformance and quality checking reports provided following submission
  • information on the processes for dealing with any problems in submission and the escalation process if issues cannot be resolved locally

The Conformance Framework should be viewed together with the Data Transfer Partnership Agreement completed by Providers, which gives key contacts and details of the data they submit to the NCRS.

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 recurrence reporting and (TNM) classifications

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. 

Alternatively, you can set up an account to receive future newsletters. Go to join our mailing list, complete the details on the form and select 'COSD Newsletter' from the options list.

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. Late in 2017, a new COSD Change Request form will be available via the CancerStats website. Change requests will be reviewed quarterly by the COSD Advisory group and where agreed, will form part of future iterations of COSD. This new addition will help us to keep COSD current and provide a greater level of consultation and engagement in the development process.