3 types of cancer killing Kenyan men

3 types of cancer killing Kenyan men

Men have higher rates of getting and dying from cancer than women. Most cancers take years to develop yet things that raise your chance of getting cancer are called risk factors, according to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cancer most likely depends on demographics. But the most common one is the prostate one.

In its publication on August 27 this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that some of the cancers that most often affect men are prostate, colorectal, lung, and skin cancers.

When former Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore when he passed away on July 1, 2019, most Kenyans came to learn that it was cancer which claimed his life, leukemia, also called the cancer of blood. This however, is not a common case among Kenyan men. CDC puts a balance scale of cancer for most men.

By Province, according to a Kenyan-based AAS Open Research, most Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) patients who visit for cancer treatment are from Central, Eastern and Western, (44%, 24.8% and 10.2% respectively), with specific regions being Muranga, Kiambu, Machakos, Nyeri and Kisii (11.2%, 10.2%, 8%, 8% and 5.4% respectively).

Colorectal cancer at 5.2 percent was common among men.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. Most prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.

Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer also increases a man’s risk of having prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

-Frequent urination.

-Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder.

-The urge to urinate frequently at night.

-Blood in the urine.

-New onset of erectile dysfunction.

-Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common.

How can one avoid it?

Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer.

“Well it’s easy. You have to be sexually active. It’s highly prevalent in middle-aged to old men,” says Richard Bahati Adogo, an oncologist, Thika Level 5 Hospital.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Some factors that increase colorectal cancer risk include being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking, heavy alcohol use, being older, and a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

“One can get it because of genetic predisposition or be acquired depending on lifestyle or environmental exposure,” says Adogo.

Symptoms of Colorectal cancer

-A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool.

-Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool.

-Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain.

-A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely.

-Weakness or fatigue.

How can one avoid it?

Screening can help to find colorectal cancer early, when it’s smaller, hasn’t spread, and might be easier to treat. It is also advisable that from the age of 10 through 75, one should undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is most often caused by exposure to chemicals and other particles in the air. While smoking tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer, not all people with lung cancer are people who smoke. Some might have smoked, and some have never smoked at all.

If you smoke now or have ever smoked, are ages 50 to 80 years and in fairly good health, you might benefit from screening for lung cancer with a yearly low-dose CT scan (LDCT).

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

-Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away.

-Chest pain.

-Shortness of breath.


-Coughing up blood.

-Feeling very tired all the time.

-Weight loss with no known cause.

How can one avoid it?

Not all lung cancers can be prevented. But there are things you can do that might help lower your risk. If you don’t smoke, don’t start, and avoid breathing in other people’s smoke.

Earlier on, we mentioned about risk factors. WHO says that you can’t control some risk factors, like getting older. But you can control many others. In fact, there are things you can do every day to avoid getting cancer. Two of the most important things you can do are making healthy choices and getting the screening tests that are right for you.

This article was based on a research cutting across the WHO, CDC-America and CDC-Africa and Kenyan based AAS Open Research.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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