Adults and teenagers in Meru County have been urged to embrace routine cancer screening as part of their health care responsibilities.
Speaking at the Meru Referral and Training Hospital, County Governor’s wife, Priscilla Murungi, said the Cancer Centre at the facility had not been utilized as expected during its inception in 2019.
Priscilla noted that Meru County had continued to be rated among counties with an increasing number of cancer cases among people of all ages, yet less than 1,000 people had visited the Centre for services in the last three years.
She said among the cases captured at the Centre and tested positive, cervical cancer cases were the most at about 20 percent followed closely by breast cancer at about 18 percent and stomach and colon cancer found among women and men.
Mrs Murungi, however, urged the public not to be discouraged by the current situation, saying the County was working in partnership with other players in the health sector to ensure all patients and survivors were accorded the necessary assistance and support, to cushion them from any form of stigma or discrimination.
‘Twaweza Women and Youth Empowerment Program has continued to solicit for help from community development organizations and non-government establishments to provide artificial breasts to breast cancer survivors in the recent past,’ Priscilla said.
She also encouraged Meru County residents and those from the neighbouring Isiolo, Laikipia and Tharaka-Nithi County to take full advantage of the cancer centre at the Referral Hospital for early diagnosis and treatment to full recovery or proper life prolonging management depending on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis.
Priscilla said all was not lost, adding that Twaweza implementation team had resolved to slot in cancer awareness campaign messages in the program to eradicate any form of fear and misinformation that could be contributing to the low turnout at the screening centre.
She regretted that many people were keeping away from being screened for cancer for fear of testing positive, like it was the case with testing for HIV/AIDS in the early years of the disease, adding that ignorance was not an option either.