By Ezra Abaga, Corporate Communications, PS Kenya.
When she learnt about an upcoming free breast and cervical cancer screening event at Kasabuni Baptist Church grounds from a poster placed at a nearby shop in Babadogo, Dolphine Oloo, a mother of one and a resident of Kasabuni in Babadogo (Nairobi County) decided to go and get screened.
We met her at Kasabuni Baptist Church grounds on the day of screening in the company of many other women waiting on the queue for the same. She appeared nervous; maybe the reason why she consistently engaged the health mobilizers near the queue. I moved closer to where they were standing to listen in on what they were discussing. I opted to reach out to her and said hello, and as we chatted, her name was called signalling her turn to get screened. She took a deep breath, stood up and promised to continue the discussion once she finished the screening process. I obliged and wished her all the best.
PS Kenya through its Tunza Health clinics in partnership with Stanbic Bank, organized the breast cancer screening and incorporated cervical cancer screening in two centres (within Nairobi County) out of the 6 centres. The rest of the centres concentrated on breast cancer screening. The breast cancer screening events took place across five counties namely Kilifi, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kiambu and Nakuru Counties with an aim of screening over 2,400 women for breast cancer and suspect cases referred for further diagnosis. The screening was organized as the world marked breast cancer awareness month in October 2020.
Overall, breast cancer registers 5,985 new cases in Kenya, accounting for 12.5% of all new cancer cases, and 20.9% in women alone (GLOBOCAN, 2018). In the same period, it accounted for 9.2% of all cancer deaths, making it the third leading cause of all cancer deaths in the country. Available data shows that majority of breast cancer patients present in late stage, contributing to higher mortality and low overall survival.
After a little while Dolphine came out smiling and joined me in finalizing our interview. I proceeded to ask her why she was smiling and seemed happy yet when we first met a while ago, she had appeared nervous. she laughed and said
“Yes I was a bit nervous which is normal, especially for any person getting screened for the first time. When I walked into the consultation room, got screened and cleared safe, there was nothing left but to express my joy.”
When I asked her why she opted to get screened she said,
“I have witnessed women losing their lives to these two types of cancer and anytime they sought treatment, most of them were always told that they couldn’t be treated due to it being discovered at an advanced stage. I didn’t wish to undergo such agony thus the reason why I chose to know my status.”
As we wound up our discussion, she resolved to educate her friends on the need to go for screening. Early screening for breast and cervical cancer leads to early detection meaning better treatment outcome. Get screened today!