Hematologic malignancies in South Africa 2000-2006: analysis of data reported to the National Cancer Registry.

16 Apr 2018

Little is known about the incidence patterns of hematologic malignancies in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. We estimated incidence rates of pathology-confirmed adult cases of leukemia, myeloma and related diseases (myeloma), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) reported to the National Cancer Registry of South Africa (NCR) between 2000 and 2006, by age, gender, and population group (Black, White, Coloured, Asian/Indian). Gender-specific age-standardized rates were calculated overall and by population group and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using Poisson regression models. Between 2000 and 2006, there were 14662 cases of leukemia, myeloma, HL, and NHL reported to the registry. Incidence rates of reported hematologic malignancies were generally 20-50% higher among males than females. Our analyses suggested marked differences in the rates of reported hematologic malignancies by population group which were most pronounced when comparing the White versus Black population groups (IRRs ranging from 1.6 for myeloma to 3.8 for HL for males and females combined). Challenges related to diagnosis and reporting of cancers may play a role in the patterns observed by population group while the set-up of the NCR (pathology-based) could lead to some degree of under-ascertainment in all groups. This is the first country-wide report of the incidence of hematologic malignancies in South Africa. Despite challenges, it is important to analyze and report available national cancer incidence data to raise awareness of the cancer burden and to characterize patterns by demographic characteristics so as ultimately to improve the provision of cancer-related health care.