CANCER BURDEN IN KENYA
Illness is something many don’t like opening up but there comes a time you got no option but talk about it to help create awareness, for instance cancer illness, very few talk about it basically patients because of the stigma it comes with. Thanks to social media, hospitals the government and all organizations that came out during October month to talk about cancer and what it takes to know your status and the needed information about cancer. Indeed, Cancer is a monster in our country, it has claimed many lives, it has put sorrow on many people’s lives, very few open up on cancer but let’s have talks to keep this disease at bay.
Cancer has 70% mortality rate after cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases, it kills even more than HIV AIDS, have you imagined why it kills many? One reason is cancer treatment is very expensive limiting many from accessing proper medication, this has contributed to many deaths
I have come across many cancer patients let me give one patient I came across the name Cynthia, when she opened up on her treatment journey ,tears rolled down her chicks ,cancer treatment is damn expensive in Kenya, she has so far exhausted her medical insurance cover the only choice left is either to sell an asset or depend on well-wishers contributions, I have a friend ‘Mark’ who is taking care of a cancer patient the challenges are the same ,he has exhausted his medical cards ,only option left is him to ask for help from well-wishers. You can imagine the financial struggles a patient goes through and at the same time the pain that emanates from the disease itself, the situation is so scary, to reduce the burden cancer treatment cost has to be brought down by all means
Many run short of funds to take care of cancer patients before completing treatment sessions, this affects the patients negatively since one might stop the medication due to lack of funds some go ahead to sell assets to have their loved ones treated leaving them languish in poverty and as if that’s not enough the patient might not survive, you can imagine the double tragedy.
Think of those cancer patients and families living below the poverty line, they have no homes probably live in rented houses with no assets, can they even afford any cancer sensation? Of course, the answer is no, the guys will have no choice but to live it to God as they watch their loved ones die in extreme pain.
Another challenge when it comes to cancer, there are less cancer campaigns, very few people have awareness on what cancer is, how to get screened and where to get the screening done, this has led to many cases of final stage cancer patients, by the time they get to know of the disease its in the final stage. All this come from less cancer screening centres.
Many cancer patients also lack some mentors who have survived from the disease to help them walk through recovery journey, some who have undergone processes such as mastectomy fail to accept that they have no breast some opt to go for plastic surgery which is demanding while others sink into depression
Our country has another challenge when it comes to cancer experts, there are less oncologists something forcing patients to seek medication oversees, it pauses another challenge since one has to cater for the travel costs and medication, we have seen many cases of cancer patients who have travelled overseas for medication and stuck there due to lack of funds.
Let’s normalise talking about cancer, let’s have more cancer campaigns, champion the campaigns, have interactive talks and above all we ask the government to intervene in this cancer burden, lessen the costs, have more trained oncologists and have more cancer centres across the country. We can do it we can beat cancer.