Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
Statistics tabled at the National Assembly yesterday revealed that at least 133 Kenyans are diagnosed with cancer daily, translating to 3,990, every month and 47,887 new cases annually.
The figure is in an increase from 41,000 recorded in 2012.
The statistics reveal that breast and cervical cancer are the leading cancers being diagnosed, with 498 new cases of breast cancer being recorded every month, which translates to 5,985 annually.
Some 437 of cervical cancer cases are recorded each month, which translates to 5,250 every year.
Oesophagus cancer follows closely with 4,380 new cases yearly, followed by prostate cancer at 2,864 new cases annually and 2,316 new cases of colorectal cancer.
Documents tabled before the National Assembly’s Health Committee by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) yesterday show that, the number of cancer-related deaths has risen to 32,987 up from 28,500 deaths in 2012. This translates to 1,099 deaths every month or 36 deaths each day.
“Cancer is estimated to be the third leading cause of death in Kenya after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Estimates from Globocan 2018 show that there are 47,887 new cancer cases in Kenya every year and 32,987 deaths due to cancer annually,” NCI chief executive officer Alfred Karagu told MPs.
In terms of deaths, oesophagus cancer leads with 4,351 deaths annually, followed by cervical with 3,286 deaths, breast cancer 2,553, prostate cancer 1,663 and colorectal cancer with 1,466 deaths annually.
The data also shows that there are 3,200 new cancer cases among children below the age of 18 years being recorded every year which translated to 267 cases every month or eight cases every day.
But even as the cases of cancer continue to soar, NCI officials say they are operating with an annual budget of only Sh14 million.
According to Kiragu, the institute has neither staff of it own nor specific premises from which to operate.
He said they have been allocated only “three small rooms” to operate from by the Ministry of Health.