Trends in cancer incidence in rural Eastern Cape Province; South Africa, 1998–2012

Ntuthu I.M. Somdyala, D. Maxwell Parkin, Nomfuneko Sithole and Debbie Bradshaw


There are few cancer trend data reported in sub-Saharan Africa notably due to the scarcity of population-based cancer registries (PBCRs). The Eastern Cape Province PBCR is amongst the few registries in sub-Saharan Africa that reports data for a rural population. Trends in cancer incidence are reported for the period 1998–2012. Registered cases, age-standardized rates (ASRs) and standardized rate ratios are presented for the most common cancers in both males and females in three periods (1998–2002, 2003–2007 and 2008–2012). In males, the most commonly diagnosed cancer during the 15 year period was cancer of the oesophagus; incidence rates showed a significant decline over the 15 year period, entirely due to a 30% decrease between 2003–2007 and 2008–2012, to an ASR of 23.2 per 100,000 population. This was followed by prostate cancer, the incidence of which was more than doubled to a level of 9.9/100,000. In women, cancer of the cervix uteri has become the most common malignancy, with a significant increase in incidence during the period to 29.0/100,000. Oesophageal cancer is second in frequency, with (as in males) a significant decline in the final 10 years to an incidence of 14.5/100,000 in 2008–2012. The incidence of breast cancer increased by 61%, although the absolute rate remains low (12.2/100,000). The incidence rates of colorectal cancer are low, and the increases in incidence, although relatively large (35% in men, 63% in women) were not statistically significant. Kaposi sarcoma showed a dramatic increase in incidence in both sexes (3.5-fold in men, 11-fold in women) although the incidence remains relatively low by southern African standards. Cancer prevention and control activities in the area need to be informed by these data and strengthened.

Source: International Journal of Cancer

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