Advocates stress the critical necessity of continuously educating and raising awareness among Kenyans regarding the significance of undergoing medical check-ups and screenings at least once annually.

This approach stands as a crucial means by which prevalent diseases like cancer can be detected and managed at their initial stages.

Dr. Joyfrida Chepchumba, the Programme Officer overseeing Treatment, Palliative Care, and Survivorship at the National Cancer Control Programme, underscores the importance of catching cancer early to enhance treatment effectiveness and minimize fatalities.

She highlights how medical screening aids in identifying certain types of cancer at their early stages, when prognosis is typically more favorable.

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis doesn’t equate to a death sentence. Early screening and timely treatment not only save lives but also enable survivors to lead fulfilling lives,” Dr. Chepchumba affirms, noting the government’s substantial investment in cancer care and urging individuals to undergo screening given the availability of local treatment facilities.

Dr. Chepchumba reassures the public that treatment options are accessible within Kenya, obviating the need for overseas travel. Notably, facilities such as PET CT scan and radiotherapy are readily available in key referral hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital.

Moreover, the country boasts ten additional regional cancer centers, with some offering radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery services. Centers in Mombasa, Nakuru, and Garissa provide comprehensive treatment options, while others like Kakamega, Kisumu, Embu, and Nyeri focus on chemotherapy and surgery, with plans for radiotherapy services in the near future.

Despite breast cancer being the most frequently reported form in Kenya, with around 5000 cases annually, Dr. Chepchumba highlights cervical cancer’s deadliness, noting its aggressive nature and causing more fatalities, with approximately 4000 cases reported annually.

Acknowledging the urgency of addressing this issue, Dr. Chepchumba stresses the importance of early screening and diagnosis in effectively managing and treating cervical cancer.

These remarks were made during a medical screening camp in Ainabkoi sub-county of Uasin Gishu county, where over 2000 residents benefitted from free screening and treatment. Accompanied by healthcare professionals including KUTRRH Deputy Director of Clinical Services Dr. Kerama Onyimbo and Uasin Gishu County Director of Health Dr. Evans Kiprotich, Dr. Chepchumba encouraged men, particularly those aged 45 and above, to undergo screening for prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.

Additionally, she urged parents to ensure that girls aged 10 to 14 receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, available in all public hospitals, emphasizing its preventive efficacy against HPV-related cancers.

Dispelling concerns surrounding the vaccine’s safety, Dr. Chepchumba underscores its absence of side effects, citing extensive testing and certification processes.

Dr. Kiprotich, the Uasin Gishu County Director of Health, echoed the call for increased male participation in screening initiatives, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis in managing conditions like prostate enlargement.

He underscored the need for proactive measures to address healthcare gaps, including heightened awareness campaigns and improved access to medical services.