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The cancer datasets published by the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) are a combination of textual guidance, educational information and reporting proformas. The datasets enable
pathologists to grade and stage cancers in an accurate, consistent manner in compliance with international standards and provide prognostic information, thereby allowing clinicians to provide a high standard of care for patients and appropriate management for specific clinical circumstances. This guideline has been developed to cover the most common circumstances. However, we recognise that guidelines cannot anticipate every pathological specimen type and clinical scenario.
Occasional variation from the practice recommended in this guideline may, therefore, be required to report a specimen in a way that maximises benefit to the patient. Each dataset contains core data items that are mandated for inclusion in the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD – previously the National Cancer Data Set) in England. Core data items are items that are supported by robust published evidence and are required for cancer staging, optimal patient management and prognosis. Core data items meet the requirements of professional standards (as defined by the Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care), and it is recommended that at least 95% of reports on cancer resections should record a full set of core data items. Other non-core data items are described. These may be included to provide a comprehensive report or to meet local clinical or research requirements.