Men in Migori County have been encouraged to go for prostate cancer screening to help curb the disease in its initial stages.
Speaking during the Palliative Care Day awareness for chronic diseases at Lakeside Sori Hospital in Nyatike Sub County Dr John Wekesa, an Oncologist said that it was important for men to seek free screening services to establish their prostate cancer status to enable early intervention.
Dr Wekesa said that prostate cancer just like any other cancer can only be treated and managed if detected at its earliest stages.
“Chemotherapy response depends on the stage at which the patient is subjected to. When a patient is in stage four we can only ensure that they are given palliative care service,” said Wekesa.
The oncologist, however, noted that a good number of men who seek prostate cancer screening services at the facility do not show up for treatment.
He said they only do so when the situation worsens, a clear indication that the majority of men still do not believe they have cancer.
He pointed out that the late stages of cancer require a lot of health stabilisation that slows down the treatment process.
Dr.Wekesa added that by the time a patient becomes stable to undergo the chemotherapy the cancer situation has developed further making it impossible to help the patient.
“We have screening equipment for prostate cancer and any other type of cancer but no man comes in for checkup unless they are really sick,” Wekesa noted.
The cancer centre facility which was established in 2019 has so far treated 101 cancer patients from Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay counties.
The oncologist said that so far 30 active patients were currently undergoing chemotherapy at the centre.
He, however, noted that Chemotherapy was given according to the type of cancer a patient was suffering from.
The doctor added that the Sori cancer facility also treats cervical, breast and renal cancer.
Majority of cancer cases reported in the facility were cervical and breast cancer, and according to Dr Wekesa the two are the easiest to treat if detected early enough
He urged the guardians to ensure they take their daughters aged below 12 for the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination. Dr Wekesa noted that HPV was a predisposing factor for cervical cancer and that proper vaccination will help protect young girls from the HPV virus.
“Let us desist from the sterilisation myths of HPV vaccination which is meant to prevent our young girls from the disposal factors that lead to cervix cancer”, said the oncologist.
He called upon the relevant authorities to create cancer awareness as the key to enlightening the population on the risks of cancer.
Dr Wekesa also emphasised that cancer screening is free of charge in any facility and it was important for Kenyans to utilise the opportunity for their own health care.
Director Sori Lakeside Hospital John Okeyo said that the community health-based facility has assisted the local community and the neighbouring counties access to cancer services.
He noted that before the establishment of the cancer centre patients were seeking services at Moi Referral Hospital in Eldoret and Kenyatta National Hospital.
Okeyo encouraged residents to have National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards to help them ease the burden of accessing health services, especially cancer and other chronic diseases that were a bit expensive.
During his key address when opening the third County Assembly, Migori Governor Dr Ochilo Ayacho committed to the establishment of a cancer centre at Migori Referral to help ease the burden of cancer patients in the county.
By Geoffrey Makokha