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KENYA: Esophageal cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Kenya – new report


NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Esophageal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in Kenya, a new Status of Cancer in Kenya Report shows.

The report which was officially launched on Thursday by the National Cancer Institute of Kenya Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Alfred Karangu, showed that nine out of ten persons diagnosed with esophageal cancer lose their lives.

The second leading cause of cancer deaths is cervical cancer, with breast cancer rates third.

The report covers incidents reported in the National Cancer Registry for the period 2021/2022.

In Kenya, cancer is the second leading cause of death among the non- communicable diseases, with reported 47,887 new cases and 32,500 cancer deaths occurring every year.

Currently, according to the data two out of every three persons diagnosed with cancer will succumb as 70 per cent of cancer cases are diagnosed in advanced stages when cure is impossible.

“Only about 23 per cent of all cancer patients in Kenya access the cancer management services they need to access to screening and early diagnostic services are limited,” reads part of the report.

“Further, the available treatment modalities for cancer carry high costs that are protracted in the lifespan of the affected individual,”

The report shows that the most common cancers in the country are breast at 15.9 per cent followed by cervical 13.3 per cent, esophageal 11.8 per cent, prostate 10.1 per cent and colorectal cancer at 7.1 per cent.

On the distribution of cancer cases by county, the top five counties with the highest proportion cases reported to the registry are Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos and Nyeri in that order.

In children, Leukemia accounts for the highest proportion of cases at 15 per cent followed by brain tumors 11 per cent, lymphomas and Kidney at 10 per cent and Nasopharynx 7 per cent. Other childhood cancers account for the remaining 47 percent.

Various speakers in the summit emphasized the need for multi sectoral approach in addressing the cancer burden the country.

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