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Cancer Statistics

Global Cancer Statistics

South African Cancer Statistics

The National Cancer Registry (NCR), which falls under the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), serves as South Africa’s main source of national cancer incidence data. The NCR is affiliated with the African Cancer Registry Network (ACRN) and is recognised by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC).

Since 1986, the NCR has conducted pathology-based cancer surveillance, where data on both solid tumour and haematological cancers diagnosed by histology, cytology and bone marrow are collected, analysed and reported on an annual basis. Data collected from the NCR is used for cancer research, for educational purposes and to inform decision-making in both the public and private sector for cancer prevention, control and treatment policies and practices.

Whilst the NCR currently is a predominantly pathology-based cancer registry it plays a vital role in maintaining and developing national and international awareness around the enormous and increasing burden of cancer in South Africa.

Although pathology-based registration results in under-reporting of cases in some cancers, many critical decisions need to be and are made based on the current NCR data. A population-based registry is also vital, especially when decisions relating to screening, prevention, as well as cancer treatments are made. Since 2017, population-based cancer data has been collected from Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality in Gauteng Province. The Ekurhuleni Population Based Cancer Registry includes reporting on all cancer cases in the public and private sector that are diagnosed clinically, radiologically and pathologically.

CANSA relies on statistics provided in the NCR Reports and is proud to be associated with the NCR having also contributed to the publication of these essential reports.


The 2019 National Cancer Registry (NCR) report was the last report to be made available to the SA public and CANSA.

As updated information is received from the NCR, CANSA updates this web page, and our CANSA Fact Sheets & Position Statements to reflect latest statistics.

Fact sheets and position statements are updated as time allows, as there are over 300 on the website. Queries may be directed to if there is any uncertainty regarding statistics.

The Top 5 Invasive Cancers Reported in South Africa (NCR 2019)


  1. Prostate
  2. Colorectal
  3. Lung
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  5. Melanoma


  1. Breast
  2. Cervix
  3. Colorectal
  4. Uterus
  5. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The above-mentioned excludes non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) including basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).

The SA National Cancer Registry Files:

Patient-Led SA Cancer Registry

When Belinda Wagner was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, in 2016, she looked for information to help her navigate the challenges that lay ahead. “When I searched online, I found the South African National Cancer Registry (NCR). Although this was a valuable resource, angiosarcoma was not listed at the time,” she explains.

After completing treatment in 2017, Belinda established a support group and launched an NGO, called Living with Cancer. One of her dreams was that the NGO would oversee the first-ever South African Patient-Led Cancer Registry that would capture and track people living with cancer and the different types and stages of cancer.

The data that the LWC Patient-Led Cancer Registry collates will be added to the current National Cancer registry to look at cancer incidents and to improve planning for cancer services in SA in the long run.

Living with Cancer Patient Registry

IARC – Globocan South Africa 2020

Has Cancer Touched Your Life?

Cancer affects one in four South Africans, through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self.

We want you to know that you are not alone and that we would like to support you and your loved ones, regardless of how cancer has touched your life.

Find info & online resources to help you fight cancer and please read more about CANSA’s Holistic Care & Support which is offered at our CANSA Care Centres countrywide.

Please consider making a donation

Please support our ongoing educational efforts to lower the cancer risk. Give a gift to our CANSA Care Homes to help support critical services for cancer patients. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

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