Monday, 15 April, 2024
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Cancer deaths in South Africa on the rise

Deaths due to cancer are increasing in South Africa, with the black and coloured population seeing the most alarming climbs, according to a report by the National Cancer Registry of the Department of Health, and Stats SA’s mortality and causes of death data.

The report covers the number of people diagnosed with, as well as those who died from, cancer between 2008 and 2019.

The data show that during this time:
• Black African population groups experienced a 68.6% increase in cancer-related deaths, from 14 127 in 2008 to 23 823 in 2018.
• The coloured population experienced a 68.3% increase from 3 365 in 2008 to 5 663 in 2018.
• Indian or Asian population groups increased by 53% from 798 in 2008 to 1 221 in 2018, and
• The white population group increased by 23.4% from 7 320 in 2008 to 9 033 in 2018.

The report noted that these numbers “don't necessarily reflect the risk of cancer-related mortality in each population group”, reports News24.

Cancer-related mortality was based on 43 613 cancer deaths over the 10 years. Overall, deaths in the country have decreased in that time by 24.1%, from 598 553 in 2008 to 454 014 in 2018. But over the same period, cancer deaths went up by 29.3%, from 33 720 in 2008 to 43 613 in 2018.

Female cancer deaths were slightly higher, at 51.2% of the deaths, and the average age for death due to cancer is 62 for females and 64 for males.

In the sampled time, female cancer deaths increased 34.2% and males increased by 24.3%.

The following cancers contributed to half of the cancer deaths in men in 2018:
• Bronchus and lung contributed 18.7% of cancer-related deaths;
• Prostate cancer 16.7%;
• Oesophagus 7.5%;
• Colorectal 6.8%; and
• Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts 5.2%.

These types of cancers contributed to half of the cancer deaths in women in 2018:
• Cervix uteri contributed 17.9% of cancer-related deaths;
• Breast 17%;
• Bronchus and lung 9.2%; and
• Colorectal 6.1%.

The Stats SA report said although mortality from cancer is lower compared with TB/HIV and other major communicable diseases, it is increasing.

"More focus needs to be put on prevention, screening and treatment of cancer, and increasing awareness of associated risk factors such as tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy dietary practices and sedentary lifestyles.”

Cancer in SA

News24 article – Cancer deaths on the rise in South Africa (Open access)


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