Bomet has broken the cancer pattern in the country by recording oesophagus as the leading form of the killer disease in both male and female adults.
This is a departure from the common trend where breast and cervical cancer have been the most prevalent among women while prostate and oesophagus cancer have been the most prevalent among men in the country.
According to data collected from four counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Bomet and Meru that the National Cancer Registry at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) released, in Bomet 30 per cent of men suffer from oesophagus cancer, 18 per cent from prostate cancer and another 12 per cent from stomach cancer.
In women, oesophagus cancer is leading with 22 per cent prevalence followed by cervix at 5.6 per cent. Breast and colon, rectum and cancer of the anus tie at the third position with a prevalence rate of 3.9 per cent.
Stomach and pancreas cancer is also common in women in the county with a prevalence rate of 3.2 per cent.
The head of the National Cancer Registry and Research Scientists at Kemri, Ms Anne Korir, clarifies that the lower rates of breast and cervical cancer in the county may indicate limited awareness of the disease in the community.
Frequent drinking of the traditional mursik (fermented milk) has been cited as the leading cause of cancer of the oesophagus or food pipe in the greater the Rift Valley and parts of northern Kenya.
The National Cancer Institute said on Thursday the Rift Valley, upper eastern and northeastern regions recorded the highest number of oesophageal cancer.
Oesophageal cancer is the top killer in Kenya ahead of cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancers with 4,354 deaths every year.
“Potential risk factor associated with oesophageal cancer in a study conducted in Tenwek shows that hot beverage and use of mursik were independently associated with oesophageal cancer,” said Mr Alfred Karagu, the acting chief executive at the National Cancer Institute.
The National Cancer Control Programme data shows that in 2018, there were 4,351 deaths due to oesophagus cancer, accounting for 13.5 per cent of the total cancer deaths.
This was followed by cervix uteri cancer at 3,286 (10 per cent), breast cancer came third at 2,553 (7.7 per cent), stomach (2,068), prostrate (1,663), colorectum (1,463) and liver cancer (1,331) in 2018. According to the Kemri data, prostate, oesophageal and stomach cancers are equally high in Meru.
However high rates of breast and cervical cancer were seen among women in Meru as opposed to Bomet.
The top five cancer killers in Meru are prostate (15 per cent), oesophagus (13 per cent), mouth (nine per cent), stomach (six per cent) and lymphoma at three per cent.
In women, breast cancer leads at 14 per cent in the county, followed by cervix at 10 per cent. Oesophagus comes third at 5.4 per cent, stomach at 5 per cent and colon cancer at three per cent.