• Without action, the worldwide cancer burden is expected to reach 26 million new diagnoses and 17 million deaths by 2030, with the most rapid increases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Currently, of the nearly 21 000 cancer deaths recorded per day, worldwide, over two thirds occur in economically developing countries. South Africa is one of these countries. Cancer affects every South African either financially or emotionally in some way.


  • In South Africa, the National Cancer Registry which is kept by the NHLS, has collected information on cancer diagnoses since 1986. The 2000-2001 National Cancer Registry (NCR) Report shows that males have a lifetime risk (LR) of 1 in 6 of getting cancer, as opposed to 1 in 4 in the previous report. Registry figures indicate that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males, followed by lung, oesophagus, colon/rectum and bladder cancers. In women, breast cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis, followed by cancers of the cervix, uterus, colon/rectum and oesophagus


  • Incidence of leading 5 cancers by population group
    Males, 2002 (excl BCC & SCC of skin)
Black Coloured Indian White
Prostate Prostate Prostate Prostate
Oesophagus Lung Lung Colorectal
Kaposi Sarcoma Colorectal Stomach Bladder
Lung Bladder Bladder Melanoma
Non Hodgkin lymphoma Stomach Colorectal Lung


  • Incidence of leading 5 cancers by population group
    Females, 2002 (excl BCC & SCC of skin)
Black Coloured Indian White
Cervix Breast Breast Breast
Breast Cervix Cervix Colorectal
Oesophagus Colorectal Colorectal Melanoma
Uterus Lung Uterus Cervix
Kaposi Sarcoma Uterus Stomach Lung


Download: WHO Country Profile

Editorial: Why is Cancer not a Priority in South Africa?