Cancer is the commonest killer in women in Kenya. Mammograms are the perfect way to detect breast cancer early. Especially when it’s easier to handle, and before it’s large enough to feel or trigger symptoms.
Breast cancer accounts for 23% of all cancer cases among women in Kenya.
Nyeri County has planned to screen around 100,000 women for cervical and breast cancer this month. This figure is five times greater than the number screened in October last year.
Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu of the County said the exercise would take place in all county hospitals.
Screening was only carried out at the county referral hospital last year.
Women will be shown how to do a self-examination while at home.
She also added that public hospitals are operating in collaboration with private health facilities. Public hospitals can provide care free of charge. Those in private hospitals either cut the cost of tests by half or give free screening.
The Deputy Governor has been leading a cancer awareness program in the county.
She claims that cervical and breast cancer are the greatest killers of women in the world. Seven women die every day from breast cancer, while eight die from cervical cancer.
Approximately 80 per cent of patients head to the doctor when it’s too late. Sometimes when the illness has progressed to stage four, she stated.
She urged women to go to testing once a year and to have mammogram scans for those who were 40 years old.
Finally, Karugu blamed growing cases of the disease on the overuse of chemicals in farms. Such as pesticides and herbicides to destroy pests and weeds.
As per study, Kenya has tripled its imports of these chemicals over the last five years.
In 2015, Kenya imported 6,700 tons of pesticides and 18,000 tons in 2019.
This is about three times what Kenya imported in 2015.
County First Ladies Association (CFLA)
In 2019, CFLA identified 8 counties to carry out a pilot project to resolve the high incidence rate of the disease, with figures indicating that the disease accounted for up to 7% of the country’s annual mortality.
The counties were Kisumu, Nakuru, Kakamega, Bungoma, Laikipia, Meru, Taita Taveta and Makueni.
EMPOWER stands for Enabling and Motivating Partnership of Women to Engage and Reclaim their Life.
This initiative is a collaboration of CFLA with Roche Pharmaceuticals, Women 4 Cancer and Africa Cancer Foundation.
EMPOWER aims to contribute to the prevention , early detection, standard-care and community-based education of women on cervical and breast cancer.
The goal of the project is to establish and creating EMPOWER clinics, to support cancer and treatment goals in counties and to improve health care services for treatment in counties.
Empower Clinic Launch In Laikipia
27th October 2020, Beyond Zero Coordinator Angela Langat in launched the EMPOWER Cancer clinic in Nanyuki.
This is part of the breast cancer awareness activities in the month of October.
Its the sixth to be established in the entire country.
This is under the initiative of the County First Ladies Association.
EMPOWER seeks to push screening, diagnosis and care closer to wananchi.
Patients offered heartfelt testimony to their disease path.
Beyond Zero Coordinator Angela Langat pointed out that investing in a clinic devoted to screening, diagnosis and treatment complements the efforts of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta to provide better health care for Kenyans.
The launch was attended by 14 County First Ladies, Frank Loeffler, Country Manager of Roche Group, and David Kayode, Head of Global Outreach at the International Cancer Institute.
It is estimated that the burden of the disease incidence in sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to increase to over 85% by 2030.
This alarming trend illustrates the need for the advancement of evidence-based interventions that can successfully manage this volatile epidemic.
The prevalence of the disease is very high especially among women at a much young age (average 52 years compared to men at 62 years).
Statistics reveal that children and the rural populations are as much of a concern as are adults and those in urban areas.
Hence, the demand for cancer services is in very large numbers and will continue to grow.
Its also clear that among the patients with cancer, awareness is very critical.
Widespread lack of awareness and accurate information about cancer is another reason why screening is rare and many cancers are detected when it is too late to treat effectively.
Several cultural myths, such as “cancer is caused by curses from ancestors,” exist, which are critical obstacles to expanded cancer control and care in Kenya, especially when it comes to early detection.