Statistics: From Stagnancy to Success?

The current situation of our Breast Cancer Statistics for South Africa is that the statistics are not reflecting the truth of breast cancer in our country.

The National Cancer Registry (NCR) reflected the following: a 1-in-35 lifetime risk for South African women to develop Breast Cancer in 2007 (i.e. the last available statistics.)

  • Gender Differences: A total number of 5719 women were diagnosed, as opposed to a total of 129 men.
  • Race Ratios: Asian and White women have a higher life-time risk of 1:17 — followed by Coloured women with a life-tine risk of 1:21 — and 1:58 for Black women.
  • Age: The risk remains the highest for the age group of 40 years+.

Our urgent question is: Are these figures painting the TRUE picture of breast cancer in South Africa if we take the following into consideration?

In 1997 a total number of 4789 cases of breast cancer in females was with a life-time risk of 1:31.


Q: Is it truly possible that there can only be such a small increase in 10 years?


The answer is NO: there is a gross under-reporting of nearly 40% in the cancer registry.


Despite the promulgation of the National Cancer Act (No. 61 of 2006 – Regulations related to Cancer Registration No. R.380), South Africa is still not able to accurately determine the incidence of breast cancer. Why? Because the regulation is not being implemented.

READ MORE about the “New Regulations on Cancer Notification in South Africa” by the PHASA (Public Health Association of South Africa).

  • Death statistics are not linked with the National Cancer Registry, thus making it impossible to determine the survival rate for breast cancer in South Africa.

CRITICAL Q: Should South Africa not focus on the establishment of Population Based Cancer Registries and, additionally, one for Breast Cancer specifically?

YES! If private sector + public sector + NGOs = are willing to stand together and take hands in a spirit of CAN-do cooperation, this would make it REALITY!

National Cancer Registry ~ NCR ~ Breast Cancer Statistics in South Africa



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