You are most likely to die from oesophageal cancer than other types of cancer, a report presented before a parliamentary committee by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says.
According to the data presented before the Health committee, out of 4,380 new oesophageal cancer cases reported annually, there are 4,351 deaths - meaning only 29 of those affected survive.
This further means that for every 365 people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in a month, only two survive, a shocking revelation that may now make it one of the deadliest killer type of cancer in the country.
According to the data, breast and cervical cancers form the highest number of new cancer cases while oesophagus, prostate and colorectal cancers follow, respectively, on the new cancer cases in the country.
Breast cancer has 5,985 new cases annually, followed by cervical at 5,250, oesophagus (4,380), prostate (2,864) and colorectal (2,316).
According to the data, out of 5,985 new cases of breast cancer reported annually, there are 2,553 deaths, cervical cancer has 3,286 recorded deaths, prostate 1,663 deaths while colorectal had 1,466 deaths.
The institute also estimates that there are 3,200 new cancer cases among children below 18 years; with the top five commonest cancers among children being leukaemia (17 percent), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (15 percent), kidney (Wilms tumour) at six percent.
The other two types of cancers common among children include brain and nervous system at five percent, while nasopharynx cancer is number five at 4.5 percent.
The institute’s acting chief executive officer, Dr Alfred Karagu, told the MPs that based on the data collected at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) between 2014 to 2016, 65 percent of all cases were diagnosed at advanced stages of either stage three or four.
Nationally, Dr Karagu said, availability of services for the prevention, management and control of various cancers is still low.
He said the institute has developed a draft training package and key messages to be used to train community health volunteers on cancer prevention during the scale up of the Universal Health Care (UHC) project.
The NCI boss also said they are working with devolved governments to promote cancer screening at county and sub-county referral hospitals and strengthen cancer diagnostic services.
Dr Karagu further said they are also working with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to expand the oncology benefit packages and cushion Kenyans from catastrophic spending, and also training health workers at primary healthcare settings on early detection and prompt referral.
The CEO however told the committee that the institute is hard-pressed with financial constraints and infrastructural challenges. For example, they do not have an office.
The ministry only allocated them a room, Dr Karagu said, noting that they need about 100 staff to effectively run the institute as opposed to the current six, seconded from the ministry, and two support staff.
Dr Karagu told the lawmakers that the ministry only receives an annual grant of Sh14 million from the government, an amount he said is not enough to enable them carry out their mandate.