We are pleased to present The 2023 Big C Survivor’s Guide, with the focus being the top five cancers in South African men and women. We have used the National Cancer Registry’s 2019 data which shows that the top five cancers affecting South African women are:

  1. Breast cancer (23.22%)
  2. Cervical cancer (15.85%)
  3. Colorectal cancer (4.46%)
  4. Uterine cancer (3.6%)
  5. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (2.25%)
female cover 2023 BIG C SURVIVORS GUIDE

The top five cancers affecting South African men are:

  1. Prostate cancer (25.29%)
  2. Colorectal cancer (5.63%)
  3. Lung cancer (4.01%)
  4. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (3.2%)
  5. Melanoma (2.74%) 
male cover 2023 BIG C SURVIVORS GUIDE

*Note, the stats as per NCR 2019, excludes non-melanoma skin cancers.

We have also included the top five cancers affecting children. 

We thank each medical expert who has contributed valuable information that explains each cancer and what the treatment pathway may look like. Your willingness in assisting us in so appreciated.

Thank you to the loyal advertisers who have partnered with us in bringing patient-centric information to the forefront and of course to Medipost for their ongoing support.

To all the survivors, our hope is that this booklet will assist in your journey, no matter how big or small, as long as you know you are not alone; we are here for you, we are oncology buddies. 

The Publishing Team



Breast cancer

Even though breast cancer is the most common cancer in South African women, breast cancer treatment has evolved over the last 50 years, from a disease treated mainly in the hands of the surgeon to now being a showcase for multi-disciplinary team management. Advancement in the understanding of oncological care has resulted in swings from [...]

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, but it kills more women yearly than breast cancer. It’s caused by the human papillomavirus, a widespread virus that most sexually active women will get. It is, however, whether the virus hangs around in the vagina, persists and integrates into the cervix, and then causes cancer with time. Diagnosis [...]

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the large intestine including the colon and rectum. According the most recent National Cancer Registry (NCR) data from 2019, there were 1 952 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in females accounting for 4,46% of cancer cases in females. Diagnosis Any cancer needs a histological diagnosis. Although the primary tumour [...]

Uterine cancer

Uterine cancer is the fourth common cancer that affects South African women. It affects mainly women over 50 but can occur in younger women. The majority of women who get this cancer are post-menopausal.  The risk factors are being overweight, diabetic, and hypertensive, or in a tiny number of patients who are on tamoxifen for breast cancer. [...]

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

According to the National Cancer Registry’s (NCR) latest published statistics (2019), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) ranks as the fifth most common cancer in South African women. Impact of HIV In the South African context, no discussion on lymphoma is complete without discussing the impact of HIV. Persons infected with HIV are at an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. [...]

Childhood cancer copy
male Big C 2023

Prostate cancer

The prostate is a gland which lies just below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and wraps around the urethra. Its function is to produce semen.  Prostate cancer begins when prostate cancer cells start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion first within the prostate and if left untreated, potentially spreading to other [...]

Colorectal cancer

In SA, the most recent National Cancer Registry (NCR) data from 2019 shows 2 338 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in males accounting for 5,63% of all cancer cases.  Most colorectal cancers arise from adenomatous polyps. These polyps are made of excess numbers of both normal and abnormal appearing cells in the glands covering the [...]

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the third common cancer in South African men.  Risk factors The biggest risk factor is smoking, and most lung cancer deaths are related to this. The longer and more you smoke, the higher your risk. It’s also advisable to stop smoking when you start treatment. [...]

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a term for all the types of lymphoma that are not Hodgkin lymphoma, as such it includes a wide array of different cancers which can be high-grade or low-grade and have a wide variety of presentations and severities. Generally, NHL is more common in men compared to women although the reason [...]

Melanoma of the skin

Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer that has the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Common warning signs of melanoma are a skin sore that doesn’t heal or a change in the colour, shape, texture, or surface of a mole.  Diagnosis Diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy of the skin lesion. In some instances when [...]