Prostate Cancer at a regional hospital in South Africa: we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg: Research Article published in the S Afr J Surg.

Le Roux HA; Urry RJ; Sartorius B; Aldous C, 2015. Prostate Cancer at a regional hospital in South Africa: we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  S Afr J Surg 53(3 and 4):57-62.


Objectives: The objectives were to document the presentation of prostate cancer in the Zulu population of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, to identify this as a high-risk population, and to determine the potential for under-diagnosis in this population. 

Methods: All histopathology results confirming prostatic adenocarcinoma from biopsies preformed at Edendale hospital from 01/11/2012 to 30/04/2014 were collected. A total of 81 participants were enrolled, and a review of their outpatient records was performed. Patient presentation was analysed, younger patients were compared to older patients, and observed incidence was compared to expected incidence. 

Results: The majority of patients (66%, 95% confidence interval [CI]:54-76%) presented with radiographic evidence of metastatic disease or PSA greater than 100 ng/ml. The median PSA level at presentation was 154 ng/ml (Interquartile range [IQR] = 39-448). Clinically staged T4 disease was present in 44% of patients and only 10% of patients presented with PSA detected disease. Poorly differentiated tumours (Gleason grades 8, 9 and 10) were found in 43% of patients. Only 81 out of a maximum potential of 625 incident prostate cancer cases were diagnosed. 

Conclusions: Black South African men from a predominantly rural Zulu population present late and with advanced and aggressive disease. We are missing the opportunity for remission in most patients in this high risk population group. The establishment of a National Prostate Cancer Registry and further research into a prostate cancer screening programme may be beneficial to this community.