Current practice and outcome for patients with lung cancer were determined by retrospective case note review of a random sample of all lung cancer cases registered for a calendar year and augmented by review of all surgical and radical radiotherapy cases. A total of 262 patients - 231 patients less than 75 years of age and 31 patients more than 75 years of age - represented 83% of the random sample. Eighty-three per cent of patients were seen within 2 weeks of referral. One-third reported symptoms occurring for less than 1 month and one-third had experienced symptoms for more than 3 months. The median time interval from first hospital contact until the making of a management decision was 18 days. The median interval from first contact to surgery was 63 days, and to starting radical radiotherapy 70 days. Histological confirmation was obtained in 69% of patients. Ten per cent of all lung cancer patients were calculated to have received chemotherapy. Five per cent of the whole cohort had definitive surgery and 64% of these were judged to be free of the disease at 3 years. Overall survival was 9% at 3 years, with no differences relating to cell type or area of residence. Many areas of good practice have been identified, but the lack of tumour staging or performance status data, the low proportion receiving chemotherapy or definitive surgery and the poor outcome after radical radiotherapy indicate the need for prospective audit and feedback of results. The long time interval from management decision to surgery and radiotherapy suggests organizational issues which need attention.