NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Ninety percent of adult women in Kenya have never been tested for breast cancer, according to a new survey by Ipsos Synovate.
Ipsos Synovate Managing Director Margaret Ireri said the survey has also established that 92 percent of Kenyan women have never been tested for cervical cancer, a common killer of women worldwide.
She added that those who have not tested include women from all walks of life; the educated and those living in key urban areas where there are health facilities.
The survey also revealed that 96 percent of men aged over 45 years had never been tested for prostate cancer despite being a common affliction among older men.
It is recommended that men at 40 with or without a family history of prostate cancer should seek voluntary regular assessments.
“These findings suggest a policy failure in the current awareness and prevention strategies being employed to tackle these diseases,” Ireri said.
She said economic transition, rapid urbanisation, unhealthy diets and lack of physical exercise associated with modern lifestyles have been blamed for the increased prevalence of lifestyle diseases.
“Looking at the numbers in this study, it is imperative that public education on cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure be scaled up, to ensure that more Kenyans get screened and adopt healthier lifestyles to stem the prevalence of these diseases,” she said.
Ireri said that 89 percent of Kenyans – both men and women – had never been tested for any cancer, 86 percent had never tested for diabetes and 73 percent had never tested for high blood pressure.
The survey also found that North Eastern, Western, Rift Valley and Eastern had the highest proportion of people who had never tested for cancer while women in Central and Nairobi had the lowest proportion of those who have never been tested for breast and cervical cancer.
“Women aged 25-44 years were the most likely to have been tested for these two cancers. Urban women were more likely to have been tested compared to their rural counterparts and this could be attributed to higher access to health facilities in urban areas, “added Ipsos Synovate MD.
The survey was conducted in July 22 to 28 this year where 2,000 Kenyans were interviewed countrywide.