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Cancer of food pipe is leading killer in Kenya



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Oesophagus cancer is now the leading killer in Kenya, overtaking cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancers, according to recent data from World Health Organisation.

This was attributed to late diagnosis, with experts saying most of the cases are normally diagnosed in their late stages. Food pipe cancer could also be linked to volcanic soils, alcohol and tobacco chewing or smoking.

According to the data, there will be 33, 978 cancer deaths in Kenya by the end of this year.

The data released on Tuesday by Dr Anne Ng’ang’a, head of the National Cancer Control Programme, revealed that in 2018, there were 4,351 deaths resulting from oesophagus cancer, accounting for 13.5 per cent.

This was followed by cervix uteri cancer at 3,286 (10 per cent), breast cancer came third at 2,553 (7.7 per cent), stomach (2,068), prostrate (1,663), colorectum (1,463) and liver cancer (1,331) in 2018.

Oesophagus and stomach cancer patients have trouble swallowing, experience upper stomach pain, heartburns, bloating and fast loss of weight.

Last year, breast cancer was leading followed by cervical, prostrate and oesophagus cancer.

However, in Africa cancer of the cervix uteri is the leading killer, with 81,687 deaths reported in 2018, followed by breast cancer (74,072).

Liver cancer came third at 63,562 with prostate cancer in fourth position with about 43,298 deaths. There were no deaths recorded from oesophagus cancer in Africa.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Globocan 2018 data shows that the disease will claim 18,772 women compared with 14,215 men yearly.

The research also estimated that there will be 47,887 new cancer cases in all cancer types, in both sexes and all ages by the end of 2018.

Women also lead in new cancer cases, with 28,688 getting the disease and breast cancer leading at 5,985, followed by cervix uteri at 5,250 new cases compared to 19,199 men, representing 56 per cent of the total new cases.

In men, prostate cancer came first, recording 2,864 new cases followed by oesophagus cancer at 2,384; colorectum came third with 1,134 cases.

In children aged between zero and 19 years, leukaemia is leading at 16 per cent, followed by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 15 per cent, kidney 6.4 per cent ad others at 44 per cent

Doctors link the high death rates to late diagnosis, shame in seeking treatment, low income, and fear of being found that they have the disease.