Cancer has been among the leading cause of deaths in Kenya but it only takes prominence in discussions-both online and offline-when it ‘touches’ a prominent person. Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth was in Europe for five months where he was receiving treatment. Two weeks after returning from France, the legislator condition deteriorated and he succumbed to colorectal cancer. Days later, Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso passed on at the Nairobi Hospital. She had been in the United Kingdom and India receiving treatment before she was flown to Kenya. While politicians can afford to access the best medi-care, thousands of Kenyans are left on their own devices. Here is the cost of treating cancer in Kenya.
Leading death causing cancers
Before we look at the financial implications of treating cancers, this writer will highlight the leading death causing cancers. According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2016, the leading causes of death in Kenya were pneumonia (11%), malaria 8%, cancer 8%, HIV/AIDS 5%, anemia 4% , heart disease 3% and TB. Research conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put new cases of cancer among Kenyans at 47,887 and 32,987 die from the disease.
Most common cancers (annually)
Out of 100 Kenyans dying of cancer
|X.1||Leading death causing cancer|
Oesophagus cancer-claims a total of 4,354 people annually ahead of cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancer.
Breast cancer-5,985 women
Prostate cancer-2,864 men
Number of women who die from cancer annually-18,772
Number of men dying annually from cancer-14,215
Late diagnosis or misdiagnosis
According to the Ministry of Health, 70 to 80 percent of cancers are diagnosed in late stages when damage has already been done to vital organs.
Cost of tests
Testing for breast cancer at Pathologists Lancet Kenya will cost one about kes15,200.
Thyroid cancer recurrence testing will cost a patient kes23,000.
Cost of cancer treatment
The National Cancer Control Programme and the National Cancer Institute puts the cost of treating cervical cancer at between kes172,000 and kes759,000. This cost goes up to between kes672,000 and kes1.25million if an operation is involved.
The cost of basic breast cancer treatment is Sh175,200 and Sh1.98 million. The amount goes up to kes754,000 and kes2.48 million when a patient has to under a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy.
Protate cancer treatment in Kenya will cost you between kes138,000 and kes1.21 million.
Esophageal cancer costs between Sh1 million and Sh126,000.
And that’s not all. Patients have to factor in costs of supportive and rehabilitative care and more tests carried during treatment.