By; Dr. Stephen Kaliti
Chairman, Department of Public Health.
Cancer is a genetic disease i.e it starts from the genes. Changes (mutations) routinely occurs during cell division, randomly or after a dividing cell is injured by extended agents like radioactive materials.
Cancer is currently the 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya. 7% of deaths per year after infectious Dx and CVDxs. There are about 40,000 new cases of cancer each year and 70% of the Kenyans affected are less than 70 years old
The leading cancers in women are Breast and cervical cancer at 34 and 25 per 100,000 respectively. For the men, its Prostate and Esophageal cancer at 17 and 9 per 100,000 respectively.
70-80% of the cancer cases in Kenya are diagnosed in their late stages and this is largely attributed to;
- Inadequate diagnostic facilities
- Lack of awareness
- Lack of treatment facilities
- High poverty index
- Few radiation centers in the country. We have 4, all of which are in Nairobi.
- Few number of treatment centers
The following are some general tips on how to reduce the risks;
- Have regular Health checks
- Reduce on alcohol intake
- Eat healthy diets (Fruits and vegetables as opposed to processed foods)
- Exercise and maintain a healthy BMI
- Know your body so you can identify a strange feeling on it
- Get vaccinated