Mandera department of medical services has decried the rising cases of esophageal cancer in the region.
The department’s chief officer Dr. Hassan Mohamed said in 2019 alone some eleven patients have been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.
Dr. Mohamed who spoke to journalists at the county hospital on Tuesday said in 2018 nine patients who visited health facilities across the county tested positive. Cervical and prostate cancer is also common in Mandera.
The county health facilities have been overwhelmed with patients in need of CT Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan with the sole machine not operational forcing to be referred to Nairobi.
“What we do is only blood test where blood cancers may be detected using this test if too many or too few of a type of blood cell or abnormal cells are found. A bone marrow biopsy may help confirm a diagnosis of a blood cancer, we also do breast cancer test because we have a morphology machine, “said Dr. Mohamed.
Dr. Abdiaziz Mohamed, a surgeon, asked residents to change their dietary habit and eat food rich in zinc, copper and other nutrients other than living on milk and meat alone.
He said esophagus cancer is on the rise due to smoking, drinking very hot beverages among other causes, it occurs in the esophagus along the hollow tube that runs from the throat to the stomach.
Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line inside the esophagus. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
The killer cancer species can occur anywhere along the esophagus. More men than women get esophageal cancer.
In some regions, higher rates of esophageal cancer cases may be attributed to tobacco and alcohol use of particular nutritional habits and obesity.
Signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer include difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) weight loss, chest pain, pressure or worsening indigestion, heartburn and coughing.
By Dickson Githaiga