NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – Kenyan men have been urged to go for early breast cancer screening as they have an equal risk as women of getting the disease.
Survivor Joseph Mulwa (not his real name) on Tuesday appealed to men to go for early tests, so that any potential problems are identified before it was too late.
In an interview with Capital News, Mulwa said he noticed a lump on his right breast in 1985 but ignored the tumour since it was not painful.
"I was diagonised with cancer in 2005, but it started way back in 1985 or 1986, that’s when I noticed some lump in my breast, I took note of it, but at first it came as a suprise, breast cancer, I am a man, i had some knowlegde about it but I never thought it affects men," he said.
He said due to ignorance he lived with the disease for about 20 years without knowing.
"I now regret that I never went to hospital for a check up back then," Mr Mulwa said.
Based on his personal experience he wants men to be on the look out since breast cancer affects both gender.
Kenya Cancer Association statistics estimate that 82 000 cancer cases are reported annually with 21 percent being breast cancer cases.
"The traumatising thing about cancer is not being told you have it, the cost of the treatment is the shocker," Mr Mulwa said.
He estimated that his first chemotherapy at Kenyatta National Hospital costed him Sh36,000 in 2005.
"Unfortunately I had a re-currence which costed me Sh33,000 every three weeks for six weeks," Mr Mulwa said.
Last year he said he had another re-currence that costed him about Sh200,000.
He said the doctors discovered that the breast cancer was spreading to his lungs some few weeks ago and to stop the spread he had to use another Sh102,000.
"After another check up last week, the doctors found the disease was still spreading," Mr Mulwa said.
He said he required a drug that costs Sh335,000 per session to be administered every three weeks for six weeks in different sessions.
"About last week, the doctor prescribed a drug for me, which I know I wont afford it, I dont know where I will get this money from, whether I will get it or not, I dont know, I however have hope,’’ he said.
Mr Mulwa has appealed to the government to subsidise cancer drugs in the country like it has been done with Anti- Retroviral Drugs..
"Cancer drugs are very expensive and many survivors die because they can not afford the treatment," he said.
He further said many cancer survivors cannot take their drugs as per the doctor’s prescription due to the high expenses on drugs reducing their efficiency due to inconstitencies involved during treatment.
Cancer drugs are usually taken after every three weeks and for good results, survivors have to be consistent with their treatment.