Many definitions used in this report can be found in the Radiotherapy waiting times National minimum data set 2015–18 (METEOR identifier: 579304).

course of radiotherapy: A series of one or more external beam radiotherapy treatments prescribed by a radiation oncologist.

curative: Treatment given with the intention of curing disease. See also intention of treatment.

emergency status (radiotherapy): An indicator of whether the treatment required for the patient is clinically assessed as an emergency. An emergency is where the treating clinician has assessed the waiting time for treatment cannot exceed 24 hours (METEOR identifier: 448126).

intention of treatment: The reason treatment is provided to a patient (METEOR identifier: 583857).

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems: The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th Revision (ICD-10) is currently in use. The ICD-10-AM is the Australian modification of the ICD-10, and is used for reporting by principal diagnosis in this report.

palliative treatment: Treatment given primarily for the purpose of pain or other symptom control. Consequent benefits of the treatment are considered secondary contributions to quality of life. See also intention of treatment.

principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning a patient’s service event or episode (METEOR identifier: 433356).

prophylactic treatment: Treatment given to prevent the occurrence of disease at a site that exhibits no sign of active disease but is considered to be at risk. See also intention of treatment.

radiotherapy: Radiation directed at a localised area to kill or damage cancer cells. See also What is Radiotherapy?

ready for care: The date, in the opinion of the treating clinician, on which a patient is ready to commence treatment (METEOR identifier: 448141).

sector: In this report, ‘sector’ relates to whether the site where treatment is delivered (facility or individual service location) is publicly or privately owned. This information is provided by the jurisdiction. Private providers under contract to deliver services exclusively to public patients manage some sites, and are considered to be public providers for this report. Some private sites have a contract or partnership arrangement in place to provide services to public patients, but also provide services to private patients. In this report these services are characterised as private, along with services that provide services to private patients only. Some jurisdictions have no private radiotherapy providers. This collection does not include information on the source of funding for the patient (that is, whether they are a public or private patient).

waiting time: The number of days between when the patient was ready for care, and when the radiotherapy started (METEOR identifier: 517220).