National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, S. Africa

National Cancer Registry, National Health Laboratory Service



The National Cancer Registry(NCR) was established in 1986 and is South Africa’s main cancer statistics source; it collates and analyses cancer cases diagnosed in pathology laboratories (both public and private) nationwide and reports annual cancer incidence rates stratified by sex, age and population groups. Although the NCR is a pathology-based cancer registry, resulting in under-reporting of some malignancies, the published data has been used extensively to inform development of the draft national policy guidelines for cancer prevention and control, to inform cancer research and for teaching purposes. These data are also used by many other sectors with a keen interest in cancers to inform their policy decision-making processes and/or intervention programs.


The NCR collaborates with a number of local and international experts on cancer-related research. The main platform of the NCR research has been the Johannesburg Cancer Study (JCS). This case-control study, established in 1995, aimed to determine the risk factors for cancer amongst the Black African population in South Africa. Over 21 000 cancer patients have been recruited to the study with more than 90% having donated a blood sample. The study is able to store the blood samples for future cancer research.

Samples of blood collected from prostate cancer patients in the JCS will be shared with the CPGR and CIDR for genetic analyses in the MAD-CaP study.


Cancer Surveillance and Epidemiology Training

The mandates of the NCR include cancer surveillance, research and teaching/training. With the availability of the JCS database and the larger cancer surveillance databases, the NCR provides a wealth of opportunity for student training in epidemiology and biostatistics. Our collaborations with the University of Bern, Switzerland and the University of Witwatersrand has allowed the use of the NCR data for Masters and PhD degrees, thus enhancing cancer research and surveillance skills in South Africa and the African region.



Singh, Elvira (Co-PI)

Dr Singh is a Public Health Medicine Specialist and the Head of the South African National Cancer Registry. She is also a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Cancer Prevention and Control in South Africa. Dr Singh will be involved in grant administration, overseeing participant accrual, coordinating the efforts of study personnel during data collection, and communicating with the other centers and the data coordinating center. Dr Singh will be participate in discussions related to data sharing, data analysis, and manuscript drafting for the aims on this project and will oversee the sharing of specimens collected in the Johannesburg Cancer Study to CPGR and CIDR.


Joffe, Maureen (Co-PI)

Dr Joffe obtained her PhD in Medical Biochemistry in 1983 and a Masters in Management Development in 2006. She is the Director of the Lifestyle Diseases Research Division, the Batho Pele Breast Clinic Research Division and the Non-Communicable Diseases Research Divisions at the Wits Health Consortium. The Batho Pele Breast Cancer study has investigated the epidemiology and risk factors for breast cancer amongst Black women attending the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and has included the recruitment of patients to the study as well as the collection/storage of tumour blocks and blood for further analysis.

The experience gained in the breast cancer study augurs well for the efficient operation of the MAD-CaP study. Dr Joffe will be involved in recruitment and training of all study personnel, overseeing of data collection, data management and co-ordinating the efforts of all study personnel. She will also provide scientific input at all stages of the study and will be involved with manuscript drafting.