Many deaths arising from cancer have been attributed to failure by people to seek medical checkup.
Karatina University Deputy Vice Chancellor professor, Peninah Aloo Abutho, said most people wait until they are very sick.
Abutho said people go to hospital when the disease is in the third or fourth stage, which is too late.
She was speaking to the media during a free medical camp organised by both Karatina University and Aga Khan University Hospital at Karatina Stadium in Karatina town.
She said, as a result, the University collaborated with Aga Khan to create awareness among local residents.
“But we realized that beyond awareness, we needed screening so that people could be screened for cancer. So, we realized that as a university we do not have a medical school yet. And we thought of getting in touch with stakeholders,” she said.
This informed the university to write to hospitals among them the Aga Khan which responded positively.
The aim of the two institutions is not to just stop in Nyeri but will go to other counties as well.
During the camp, area residents were also screened for blood pressure, blood sugar levels and Body Mass Index (BMI) among others.
Those in need of further medication were referred for treatment at the hospital at a subsidized price.
“We felt that this is a partner that is willing to help us achieve what we want to do and they are already in this kind of venture,” she said.
“Right now we are working on MoU which we are almost signing so that we can have a formal framework of doing this awareness creation and cancer screening across Kenya,” she continued.
The hospital will also offer training to people giving care to cancer patients and will soon visit the institution’s main campus to train care givers.
Professor Abutho said the initiative dubbed “Carry Your Candle” was started after a visit to Nyeri Hospice where they learnt about the plight of the patients.
“These are people who are feeling neglected by the world. They are in their own dark world and nobody seems to care about them,” she said.
“So as a university, we decided we want to carry our candles to them so that we can lighten their future,” she continued.
Margaret Gitau, a nurse from the hospital said the awareness will help people know when to seek medical advice and treatment saying cancer can be cured if detected early.
“But the problem is when it is diagnosed late, we cannot cure it and the patient ends up dying,” she explained.
She advised residents to be keener with their lifestyles and avoid those things that can harm their health like smoking.
She noted that they were advising females to do self breast examination and seek medical advice whenever they feel a lump in their breasts.
This, she said, will enable them be diagnosed and treated early enough.
“For those who have cancer history in their families, we are educating them to be seeking yearly screening and can have mammogram, for those who are more than 40 years old to have yearly cervical Pap smear to rule out that they have any cancer,” she advised.
She called on parents to be taking their children for biopsy whenever they notice swelling around the children’s body so that they can know the cause.
This also applies to children not growing in normal way and have delayed milestone.
She called on girls and young women from the age of nine and above to go for cancer vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
About 600 people benefitted from the medical camp.
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