What you need to know:
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the county among women aged between 35 and 54 years followed by oesophagus and prostrate.
- Approximately 68 per cent of women in that age bracket are diagnosed at late stage when treatment is more difficult.
Two out of three people die from a non-communicable disease in Nyeri County, with cancer being the leading cause for illness and death, a report by the county health department shows.
On average, at least 55 new cases of cancer are registered monthly at the Nyeri Referral Hospital and 600 cases are seen per month at the chemotherapy centre.
According to the report commissioned by acting Health Executive Robert Thuo, cancer is the leading cause of death from inpatient data of sub-county hospitals, faith-based facilities and the general hospital.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the county among women aged between 35 and 54 years followed by oesophagus and prostrate.
“Approximately 68 per cent of women in that age bracket are diagnosed at late stage when treatment is more difficult,” said Mr Thuo
The county government is now advocating for breast health education and self-breast examination to help detect the disease in its earliest stage.
Mr Thuo noted that women at average risk should go for mammogram screening as it has been shown to be associated with a reduction in breast cancer mortality. “Breast self-examination, clinical examination and ultrasound are not screening modalities but they play an important role in early diagnosis,” he said.
Though there is a mammography machine at the county referral hospital, it remains under-utilised due to lack of awareness.
“We have a state-of-the-art mammography machine that remains underutilised and I therefore call on all eligible women and men to go for screening at a subsidised cost. I also urge locals to make use of ultrasound machines in sub-county hospitals that are accessible to the community for breast cancer screening,” he added.
The county referral hospital has been extended it services to neighbouring counties, which ends up stretching its resources.
For instance, the small palliative and cancer treatment centre in Nyeri receives referrals from around 10 counties and enrolls more than 400 new cases every year.