The Centralized Cancer Patient Data System is the system which the 21 comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. have established in order to report and to analyze demographic, diagnostic, treatment and survival data on all new patients. We propose that this closely monitored standardized 36 item dataset can be used to profile the categories of initial treatment that are given to patients having all types and stages of cancer: the data may be displayed for all centers or used to compare the approaches used at different centers. Differences in the frequency with which surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and no specific treatment are used for patients having any of three commonh histologic types of lung cancer serve to illustrate the method. Opportunities now exist to utilize this new resource to study trends in the use of treatment modalities and their relationship to survival, which in turn should enhance the accessibility of treatment information about all patients at cancer centers, rather than only those which are reported from selected treatment protocols. This approach may also be uniquely useful in obtaining treatment and survival information about patients with rare sites or types of cancer.
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