Kirinyaga residents urged to embrace routine cancer screening
Residents of Kirinyaga County have been urged to embrace routine screening for cancer to enable early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Speaking during a breast cancer awareness walk in Kerugoya, the County Chief Officer for Health, Dr. Muriithi Nyaga, urged residents to visit any health center in the county for county screening. He said that those found to have indications of the disease will be referred to Kerugoya County Hospital for further diagnosis such as mammogram to enable the necessary management and treatment plan. Dr. Nyaga said that cancer has become a silent killer with many people living with it unknowingly adding that it is estimated that 250 women in Kirinyaga County live with cancer, 10% of them unawares. He added that breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, globally affecting approximately 2 million women per year with World Health Organization (WHO) citing 627,000 women succumbing to breast cancer in 2018.
In Kenya, it’s estimated that 34 out of 100,000 women have breast cancer with 70-80% of them being diagnosed during late stages. “I urge all the residents of Kirinyaga County to embrace routine screening since cancer diagnosed at an early stage can be 100% treated” said the officer. He noted that all the 64 health facilities across the county offer screening for cancer alongside other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
The chief officer added that cervical cancer has also become rampant among women and appealed to parents with daughters aged 10 years to take them to the nearest health facility for immunization against human papilloma virus which greatly increases the risk of cervical cancer. He pointed out that the County Government is in the process of setting up a cancer center that will provide timely and quality care to cancer patients in the county. “We have also invested heavily in our health sector to ensure quality healthcare services and achievement of Universal Health Coverage”, said Dr. Nyaga.
To curb the rising incidences of non-communicable diseases, he urged residents to embrace health lifestyles which include eating healthy foods and embracing regular exercising. He also cautioned against excessive indulgence in alcohol which increases the chance of getting ailments.
On Covid-19, Dr. Nyaga noted that the country has recently witnessed a surge in infections and called upon Kirinyaga residents to observe the laid down prevention guidelines. “So far our county has had 106 positive cases, 93 recoveries and six deaths. This means the disease is here with us and those people walking around without masks have to start wearing them and know that they have a duty to protect themselves and those around them.” He said.
Milka Muringo, a cancer survivor who attended the event urged residents to take cancer screening seriously since early detection can save their lives. She said that she has survived cancer for seven years and religiously takes medication to prevent recurrence. She also urged the society not to stigmatize cancer patients noting that there are some families who even disown their own when they get diagnosed with the disease. “I want to assure you that cancer is treatable and the worst thing that one can do is think it is a death sentence” said Milka urging patients to accept themselves and follow their treatment plan.
The County Director of Health Dr. George Karoki, said that the County’s Beyond Zero mobile Clinic moves around various locations every Wednesday to offer outreach health services to residents. He urged residents to take advantage of the services offered which include screening for cancer.
The walk that brought together cancer survivors from the county was also attended by various county and national government officials and members of the county assembly.