The NCR methodology follows that recommended by the WHO/IARC.
Data collection and data flow
The National Cancer Registry (NCR) is a passive pathology-based surveillance system. Copies of pathology reports confirming a cancer diagnosis are submitted voluntarily by both public and private laboratories throughout South Africa. Reports were received from 77 laboratories in 2000 and 2001(see acknowledgements).
The South African total population (Dorrington RE, Johnson L, Bradshaw D, Daniels T. The Demographic Impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa: National and Provincial Indicators for 2006. Cape Town: Centre for Actuarial Research, South African Medical Research Council, Actuarial Society of South Africa; 2006.) is used as the denominator in calculating incidence rates; therefore all cancer cases in individuals who are clearly not resident in South Africa, for example results of specimens sent to South African laboratories by other countries, are excluded.
Data items are abstracted from the pathology reports: demographic information about the patient and tumour information (topography, morphology and date of diagnosis)
The voluntary nature of cancer surveillance in South Africa can delay data publishing, as data receipt from some of the laboratories is sporadic. Some laboratories submit only summary reports which may lead to cases of incorrect reporting as cross checks cannot be done.