, Special Programmes Coordinator Newton Siele says there are up to 82,000 new cases being diagnosed annually with the highest prevalence recorded in women.
“For every two Kenyan women one has cancer of either the breast or cervix,” he said.
Siele noted that the government ought to consider waiving the fees on screening for cancer in all public hospitals to enable more people check their status.
“We call for the introduction of screening of cancer in the existing Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centres and family planning clinics,” he said.
He further explained that some Kenyans who can’t afford healthcare are the worst hit as most succumb to the disease due to the financial constraints of accessing the treatment.
“The contrast in diagnosis, treatment and outcome between Kenyans who can afford care in high- end private hospitals and those who can’t is dramatic.
“Those who cannot afford screening or regular check-ups succumb faster than those who can,” he explained.
Siele explained that it is a right of every Kenyan to access healthcare yet this is not achieved as healthcare services have been very expensive.
“A lot of attention has been directed to HIV/AIDS patients yet cancer is killing more people.
“The programme of issuing free Anti-Retroviral Drugs to HIV patients should be applied for the cancer patients as its prevalence is growing each year,” he said.
They further called for the immediate operationalisation of the National Cancer Prevention and Control Act enacted in 2012.
“The Act was approved but the ministry is yet to set it off,” Siele added.
“It was a means of ensuring that each patient oblivious of their financial ability would easily access cancer treatment.”