Kenya has been scaling up efforts to control cancer, which ranks 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya [7% of deaths per year] after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. About 28,000 are diagnosed with cancer every year with over 22,000 deaths recorded every year.
As the world commemorated Cancer Day on Tuesday last week, players in the health sector congregated at the Laico Regency to launch a sh 50 million initiative that will enhance awareness on breast cancer.
The initiative dubbed Bila Cancer Society (A cancer free society) was officiated by Rachel Ruto, the Deputy President’s wife who urged health players in both the public and the private sector to initiate basic screening campaigns especially in rural areas in order to save lives since in most patients cancer is normally detected when it’s already at the advanced stages. This lowers the individual’s chances of survival.
70-80% of cancer cases are diagnosed in late stages owing to lack of awareness; inadequate diagnostic facilities; lack of treatment facilities; high cost of treatment and high poverty index
Corporate heads also donated towards the kitty which is headed by the Kenya Medical Association in partnership with the Ministry of Health. Professor Anyang Nyong’o who is a survivor of prostate cancer and also the founder of Africa Cancer Foundation was also in attendance.
Globally, cancer is reported to cause more deaths than HIV, TB and Malaria combined.
It’s estimated that 28,000 new cases of cancer are recorded each year in Kenya with more than 60% of Kenyans affected by cancer being younger than 70 years old.
Breast and prostate cancers are the most common among women and men. Breast cancer affects 34 per 100,000 women followed by cervical cancer which affects 25 per 100,000 women.
In men Prostate cancer takes the lead (17 per 100,000) and Esophageal (9 per 100,000).