EARLY DETECTION

Free screening for breast, cervical cancers in Turkana

Hundreds of people die of various cancers yearly in the county; many seek help too late

In Summary
  • Health Executive Jane Ajele said the county has recruited an oncology specialist and introduced routine cancer management services at Lodwar County referral hospital
  • Ajele said cancer has claimed hundreds in the past year and many come for treatment when the disease is advanced.
Turkana Cancer Support Group marches in Lodwar town to mark World Cancer Day on February 4.
CANCER SCREENING: Turkana Cancer Support Group marches in Lodwar town to mark World Cancer Day on February 4.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Turkana women for the first time are getting free screenings for breast and cervical cancers.

Screening is mostly at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital. The aim is to screen at least 14,000 women a year and refer them for treatment as needed.

Turkana health executive Jane Ajele has urged women to visit the hospital and other health facilities as mammogram equipment has been acquired as well as lab facilities to detect cervical cancer.

The county has recruited an additional oncology specialist and introduced routine cancer management services at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital.

Ajele said the cancer burden in Turkana and Kenya at large will only be reduced if people go for regular, early screening and timely treatment.

Hundreds of people have died of cancers in Turkana in the past year, she said.

Free screenings are available daily.

She said use of tobacco, excessive drinking and lack of physical activity contribute to cancer and urged residents to change their behaviours.

“The consumption of alcohol and tobacco are high in the community, causing cancer cases to rise," nurse oncologist Zuleka Edaan said. She is chairperson of the Turkana cancer support group.

Cancer deaths also have increased because people don't show up for early and regular screening, only when the disease is advanced and it may be too late.

Lodwar resident Ruth Ekitela urged officials to provide cancer screening in remote areas.

“Cancer is deadly and feared by everyone in the world," she said. "We have lost loved ones and we don't want to continue losing them."

(Edited by V. Graham)