Let's ensure equal access to screenings for early detection of cancer

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Early detection is vital in the fight against cancer, increasing treatment success rates. [iStockphoto]

Over 20 years ago, I received the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer. I was fortunate to access treatment abroad, which included a mastectomy, putting a stop to the disease’s progression. Today, I am a cancer survivor committed to battling this illness. I co-founded the Faraja Cancer Support Trust in Kenya, offering hope to those affected by cancer.

My journey opened my eyes to the harsh realities many Kenyan citizens face daily. The pressing need for early detection and equitable access to cancer care in our country is undeniable. Cancer affects individuals from all backgrounds, and our healthcare system must reflect this.

Early detection is vital in the fight against cancer, increasing treatment success rates. However, too many Kenyans lack access to early detection, leading to late-stage diagnoses and devastating outcomes.

Equity in access to early detection is a fundamental human right. Regardless of socioeconomic status or location, all Kenyans should have this right. We must unite as a nation to ensure no one is left behind in this battle.

To achieve equitable access to early detection, we must:

  1. Raise awareness: Public awareness campaigns should emphasise the importance of regular cancer screenings and self-examinations, breaking down fear and misinformation barriers.
  2. Establish screening centres: More affordable or free screening centres, especially in underserved areas, are necessary to remove cost as a barrier.
  3. Promote collaboration: Government bodies, non-profits, and the private sector must collaborate to create a coordinated network of services across the country.
  4. Invest in research: Innovations like telemedicine for remote consultations and screening can make cancer screenings more affordable and accessible.
  5. Offer support: Emotional and psychological support for cancer patients and their families is crucial.

As a Trustee and Founder of the Faraja Cancer Support Trust, I have seen the resilience of cancer patients and their families. They inspire us to work towards a future where cancer is treatable.

Kenya has improved its healthcare system, but more work remains, especially in cancer care. It is our collective responsibility to ensure every Kenyan has access to early detection.

Let’s stand together, raise our voices, and demand a healthcare system that leaves no one behind. Together, we can change the course of cancer in Kenya, saving lives and offering hope. 

-- The author is a Trustee of Faraja Cancer Support  

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