Cervical cancer the most prevalent in Busia County

Cervical cancer ribbon - a survey by Busia County Health department shows a high cervical cancer prevalence in the county.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A survey conducted by Busia County Health and Sanitation Department shows that of 300 cases of cancer diagnosed between January and September 2020, cervical cancer killed the most people.
  • Women are the most affected by cancer in the county at 67 per cent.
  • County Chief Officer for Health Isaac Omeri expressed concern that more than 50 per cent of deaths in the county were related to cancer.

A survey conducted by Busia County Health and Sanitation Department shows that of 300 cases of cancer diagnosed in the county between January and September 2020, cervical cancer killed the highest number of people.

The survey lists cervical cancer at 26 per cent, cancer of the oesophagus 24 per cent, breast cancer at 9 per cent and prostate cancer at 5 per cent.

Women are the most affected by cancer in the county at 67 per cent, says the survey, with those aged between 31 and 40 years leading the numbers.

The findings were released by County Reproductive Health Coordinator Alice Yaite during celebrations to mark World Breast Cancer month at Port Victoria Hospital last month.

50 per cent of deaths

County Chief Officer for Health Isaac Omeri expressed concern that more than 50 per cent of deaths in the county were related to cancer.

He appealed to residents to undergo routine cancer screening and also change their feeding lifestyle.

In 2018, the government launched the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a routine immunization program to cushion young girls’ against the disease.

The vaccine, provided through support from Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance, will see around 800,000 girls across the country protected against cervical cancer annually.

It aims to reach all girls aged 10 with two doses administered six months apart.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 report, 33 per100,000 women in Kenya have cervical cancer and 22 per 100,000 die from the disease. 

Highest burden

The East African region has the highest burden of cervical cancer in the world. In Kenya, where HPV is the number one cause of cancer in women between the ages of 15 and 44. It is estimated that 5,250 new cases are diagnosed annually.

Cervical cancer ranks second behind breast cancer in low-income countries. 

Kenya ranks 16 out of the 20 high cervical cancer disease burden countries with an age standardized ratio of 40.1 per 100,000 worldwide.

In developing countries like Kenya, where women often lack access to cancer screening and treatment services, immunising girls before exposure to HPV is critical.

Safe and effective HPV vaccines can prevent up to 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases.


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