Sori Lakeside Hospital in Migori in partnership with the International Cancer Institute has brought hope to patients, many of whom have been seeking treatment in Eldoret and Nairobi.
John Okeyo, the hospital director, said they have been screening patients with breast and cervical cancer that are common in the area.
“Through the cancer institute we managed to train and boost the capacity of our staff and hired an oncologist to help in treatment of cancer,” Okeyo said.
On Monday when the Star visited the facility, Christine Onyango, a mother of 10, was receiving chemotherapy which previously sought in Nairobi.
Onyango was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and was scheduled to undergo 12 sessions of chemotherapy at Sh7,500 each but only managed six.
“Because of financial hiccups and the long distance to travel to Nairobi I stopped the medication until April last year when I started to have tumor growths in my neck, legs and ears,” Onyango said.
She said she had started treatment in Nairobi before changing to the hospital because of the high cost of travel and accommodation.
“We have a lot of stigma about cancer patients. Many people write us off for death once diagnosed. We need to know that cancer can be treated if detected early,” Onyango said.
Pius Sebuwufu, an oncologist at the hospital, said to end stigma, cancer patients support groups are essential.
“We have cases especially in far flung villages where once diagnosed most patients go home and wait to die,” he said.
Sebuwufu said because of high HIV prevalence rates in Nyanza region, cervical cancer has been high.
“Other main causes are lifestyles like smoking, drinking alcohol and eating canned food. The illegal use of mercury in gold mining has also increased cancer in Nyanza,” he said.
Samson Boyo, general manager at the International Cancer Institute, said the institution seeks to provide quality oncology services at affordable prices.
Boyo said that the organization is currently in talks with the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency to make cancer drugs available at affordable prices.
He said close to 20 cancer patients had been attended to since the clinic opened its doors and that the number was expected to increase.