Kwale county residents have been advised that cancer is curable, once detected in its early stages.
Consequently, area Governor Fatuma Achani says residents should go for appropriate screening whenever they see any growth in their bodies.
Speaking in Samburu-Chengoni ward, Samburu sub county, during a walk to mark World Cancer Day, the governor advised residents to check their weight in a bid to lower the chances of cancer.
She urged both men and women to regularly go for cancer screening, noting that cancer drugs are in constant supply in the health facilities across Matuga, Msambweni, Kinango, Samburu and Lungalunga sub counties.
“We want everybody to take advantage of the health facilities available to undergo screening,” said Achani.
Cancer screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear.
When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread.
Types of cancer include bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, lymphoma, ovarian cancer and thyroid cancer.
The governor, her Deputy Chirema Kombo and County Heath Executive Francis Gwama led a cancer awareness walk from Samburu Ward Administrator’s office to the Samburu sub county hospital, sensitizing the locals on the need to have early screening for all kinds of cancer.
October is documented by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a breast cancer awareness month that is observed across the world annually to increase attention and support awareness, early detection and treatment.
Achani noted that screening for cervical, colorectal, breast and lung cancers helps in early detection of the disease, when treatment works best.
Achani said creating cancer awareness has had a positive impact around the world as more and more people are surviving cancer than ever before.
While addressing the locals, Achani said cancer cases in the coastal county are on the rise, so far standing at 14 percent increase.
The most common reported cases are cervical cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
She said the county has so far reported 129 cases of cervical cancer between 2012-2020 and 80 cases reported between January and September 2022.
“Cancer is a killer disease if not detected early enough, kindly visit our health centers for screening,” she said.
She went ahead and said all the sub county hospitals can screen for prostate cancer, while the Kwale and Msambweni county referral hospitals can screen for the most common types of cancer including breast cancer.
A provision of mammogram services is also available at the county referral hospitals.
She said already the county is putting a cancer centre at Kwale hospital that is expected to be complete early next year.
Achani says cancer is a silent killer because of the low level of awareness. When people see a growth in their body they tend to ignore it, until it becomes painful and seek help when it is too late and expensive to treat cancer, she added.
The governor said the annual cancer awareness was necessary in the country saying the disease was taking a heavy toll on families.
Achani said there is need to step up efforts to create massive awareness to enable those who are ailing get early treatment at health facilities with sophisticated equipment.
“This month of cancer awareness our health practitioners will offer free pap smear, PSA for prostate cancer, hepatitis B and C, stool occult blood for colorectal cancer, and free fine needle aspiration for breast lumps,” she said, adding that ‘our efforts are now geared towards screening and early detection in order to save lives.’
By Hussein Abdullahi