To the Editor: Optimising the management of cancer patients requires objective decisions about "best treatment" strategies, based on high quality data collected systematically from all treated patients (or at least a representative sample of them). Relating treatment and stage at diagnosis to individual outcome can allow monitoring of whether treatment is consistent with best practice, and can provide a systematic foundation for evidence-based care. Clinical cancer data collection also allows treatment services to be evaluated, as institutions can monitor throughput and endpoints. However, institution-based data collections may not be representative of all cancer patients, and aggregation of data from several institutions is needed to obtain a comprehensive picture.
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