As the world commemorates the World Cancer Day, Kibra Mp Ken Okoth has revealed that he has been battling colorectal cancer.
Speaking in an interview with the Standard Newspaper, Okoth said that the cancer was discovered at an advanced stage (stage 4) but he is managing.
“For a year I was treated for ulcers and bacteria infections before the cancer was discovered,” Okoth said.
“When the cancer diagnosis was finally made it was shocking. Cancer changes your life completely,”
The Kibra MP, who is celebrated as one the most industrious and forward-thinking legislators, further said that his cancer can now only be “managed” as it cannot be cured considering it was discovered at an advanced stage.
“I have stage 4 cancer, it has no cure but God will see me through,” he said.
Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel and colon cancer, develops from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine).
MAKE CANCER CARE IN KENYA A NATIONAL PRIORITY
Okoth, who also revealed that he gets his treatment in Europe, said the government needs to make cancer care in the country a national priority since not everyone can afford to seek specialized treatment abroad.
Cancer is now the number three cause of death in Kenya, after infectious and cardiovascular diseases, however in 2015, doctors at Kenya’s main public referral hospital, the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), revealed that the disease is the number one killer at the facility.
According to statistics, there are 39,000 new cases of cancer each year in Kenya with more than 27,000 deaths per year approximately. Cancer accounts for up to 18,000 deaths annually, and up to 60% of those who die are in the most productive years of their lives.
It is reported that 30% of cancers are curable if detected early; 30% of cancers are treatable with prolonged survival if detected early; 30% of cancer patients can be provided with adequate symptom management and palliative care.
Unfortunately, Kenya lacks the facilities needed to attend to cancer patients and especially in the public health sector, which is frequented by majority of citizens who cannot afford private hospitals let alone travel abroad for treatment.