CANCER AWARENESS

Kenya not out of the woods yet in fight against cancer - MoH

Tobacco use is by far a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer.

In Summary

•Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are the four major risk factors for cancer worldwide.

•This year's theme, "close the care gap", shows that it is every person's responsibility to help in fighting the disease.

Statistics of cancer cases 2020
Statistics of cancer cases 2020
Image: Ministry of Health

As the world marks World Cancer Day on February 4, the Ministry of Health has emphasised the importance of cancer screening and to monitor lifestyle.

This year's theme, "close the care gap", shows that it is every person's responsibility to help in fighting the disease.

"As this year's theme is "close the care gap," everyone has a part to play to reduce the global impact of Cancer by recognizing, spreading awareness, and making a difference," Moh tweeted.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

The most common cancers are breast, lung, prostate, cervix, and oesophagus cancer.

The GLOBOCAN report for 2018 estimated 47,887 new cases of cancer annually with a mortality of 32,987.

This represented a significant increase in incidence compared to the 2012 report that estimated 37,000 new cancer cases annually with an annual mortality of 28,500.

These estimates are conservative and could be higher given that many cases go unreported and unaccounted for.

Low and middle-income countries like Kenya tend to suffer due to a lack of proper treating mechanisms.

"Approximately 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle-income countries like Kenya. In 2020, Kenya reported 42,116 new cancer cases and 27,000 deaths, as per the WHO GLOBOCAN 2020 Report," the ministry reported.

Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are the four major risk factors for cancer worldwide.

Cancer tissues
Cancer tissues
Image: Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health said that tobacco use is by far a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer.

Persons who use tobacco products or who are regularly around environmental tobacco smoke (also called second-hand smoke) have an increased risk of cancer.

"If you have a symptom or a screening test result that suggests you have cancer, your doctor will order lab and/or imaging tests to confirm that it is, indeed, cancer, and if yes, the type of cancer and the stage of the disease," MoH said.

World Cancer Day is observed to show support to the affected, solidarity to cancer patients and encourage people to continue being screened. 

Cancer can be controlled if detected early and treatment started.