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Nyong'o calls for early cancer detection

04 February 2014, 15:24 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Kisumu Senator and former Health Minister, Anyang Nyong'o has called on Kenyans to go for early cancer detection tests to reduce its chances of spreading in the body.

Nyong'o said cancer is on rise, noting that an estimated 28 000 new cases are reported annually resulting to more than 22 000 deaths, with 60% of those affected being young people below 70 years of age.

"My early detection of prostrate cancer enabled me fight it before it became tragic. Suppose I delayed for three days, weeks or months, then it would have been a bad story to tell," explained Nyong'o.

He stated that there should be a universal health coverage system in the country for treatment of cancer than having victims travel abroad for medical attention.

Nyong'o said that more resources should be allocated to the medical sector for the purchase of essential equipment for treatment of such non-communicable killer diseases.

The Deputy President's wife, Rachel Ruto called for increased collaboration in cancer intervention among stakeholders including the public and private sectors noting that many citizens cannot afford regular check ups and discover the infection when it is too late.

"I would like to urge the health sector to avail basic screening to Kenyans especially those in rural areas and informal settlements so that we can save lives," said Ruto.

In addition to her charitable contribution of KES 100 000 towards the Fight Against Cancer campaign, she urged citizens to embrace healthy lifestyles to minimize the risks associated with the disease adding that early detection and treatment is cheaper than treatment.

The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) Vice Chair-lady, Elizabeth Wala stated that over 40% of cancers were preventable in 2012 and 2013 through anti-alcohol and tobacco campaigns, and promotion of healthy lifestyles including physical activity.

Noting that the nation has only 10 cancer specialists against the global recommendation of 300 oncologists per population of 100 000, Wala called for enhanced training in the field to help fight the killer disease.

She announced that KMA will conduct a free national cancer screening exercise on February 21 and 22, 2014 in all major hospitals, and urged people to turn out for testing.

"The free screening exercise will coincide with a scientific symposium on February 21 for medical personnel and health workers that will explore, among other issues, how information communication technologies can be deployed to scale up cancer surveillance and management," stated Wala.      

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