•This is aimed at addressing the alarming challenges in breast cancer care and management to reinforce existing health policies
•The global cancer burden is projected to rise by about 50 per cent over the next 20 years mainly due to lifestyle changes across the world.
Cancer advocates and researchers are calling for increased patient involvement in shaping approaches to cancer research and treatment in Kenya.
This is aimed at addressing the alarming challenges in breast cancer care and management to reinforce existing health policies, programme planning, and healthcare delivery approaches.
They spoke on Thursday during a media roundtable facilitated by Pfizer.
They include representatives from Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations (KENCO) and Center for Public Health Development (CPHD).
They reiterated the need for patient involvement in research to limit the negative impact cancer is having on people’s lives, environments, and the economy.
This, they said, is aimed at making it possible for women to access breast cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as addressing the psychological distress of most cancer patients.
“Thanks to the progress made in healthcare over the recent past, breast cancer and many other cancers are no longer a death sentence,” KENCO Director Evan Mapelu said.
“Patient advocacy should, therefore, extend into education programmes so that more and more women are shielded from the psychological torture related to healthcare access,” Mapelu noted.
A 2020 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), found that new cases of all types of cancers increased to nearly 20 million worldwide, and there were 10 million cancer deaths.
The global cancer burden is projected to rise by about 50 per cent over the next 20 years mainly due to lifestyle changes across the world.
While this calls for increased access to quality healthcare services, a 2018 WHO survey found that at least 1 million Kenyans are pushed into poverty as a result of out-of-the-pocket health expenditures.
According to Pfizer Oncology Medical Manager for East Africa Josephine Muiru, the company is committed to working with healthcare professionals to help them to understand the needs of people living with cancer.
It will also ensure patients leverage digital technology to empower them to learn about their own disease and treatment options and to improve their quality of life.
“We have not yet found a way to prevent or cure all cancers, so it is vital that we are listening to people living with these diseases and supporting them with a holistic cancer care approach,” she said.
Limited cancer research both in capacity and availability to inform healthcare policy has largely contributed to the lethal prevalence of breast cancer.
In Kenya, cancer is the third leading cause of death.