Nevin Manimala Statistics


S Afr Med J. 2023 Aug 3;113(8):33-36. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2023.v113i7.574.


BACKGROUND: Upon the addition of the numbers corresponding to various cancer anatomical locations in the report published by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), the absolute number and proportion of deaths due to all cancers increased from 36 726 (8.0%) in 2013 to 40 460 (8.5%) in 2015. These high figures suggest that malignant neoplasms were in fact the second-most frequent cause of death in South Africa (SA) in 2013, and moved to the first rank in 2015.

OBJECTIVES: To support the initiative aimed at reducing cancer mortality in SA. To this purpose, we assessed trends in cancer mortality rates among males and females in SA from 1997 to 2016 to better understand the increasing threat of cancer mortality in SA.

METHODS: The general mortality data for the period 1997 – 2016, as captured from death certificates in SA, was retrieved from StatsSA. Agestandardised mortality rates (ASMR) for each year were computed using the world standard population structure proposed by Segi as the reference population. The adjusted rates were reported per 100 000 population per year. The years of potential productive life lost (YPPLL) due to cancer deaths were calculated for each age group and gender.

RESULTS: There were 681 689 total cancer deaths from 1997 to 2016, with 51.1% males and 48.9% females. Males had higher mortality rates than females. The ASMR ranged from 105.0 to 129.2 and 67.9 to 88.3 per 100 000 population per year among males and females, respectively. In 2004, the cancer mortality rate increased significantly among males (129.2 per 100 000 population), which was 1.5 times higher than in females (88.3 per 100 000 population). Among males, cancer of the lung had the highest YPPLL (394 779.3), followed by oesophageal (253 989.4) and liver (207 911.0). The YPPLL for cancer of the cervix (647 855.5) ranked first, followed by breast (483 863.6) and lung (146 304.6) in females.

CONCLUSION: Cancer mortality rates have increased since 1997, regardless of gender. Overall, there was a decline in YPPLL for cancer in the young population, while it increased in the adult population. A significant reduction in cancer deaths could be achieved by broadly applying effective interventions.

PMID:37882118 | DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2023.v113i7.574

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