The Cancer Situation in Kenya

Although Kenya is one of the countries within Africa with legislation for cancer (articulated in the National Cancer Prevention and Control Act), much remains to be done in terms of implementation.

  • Cancer is ranked as the third cause of death in Kenya – there are an estimated 39,000 new cases of cancer each year, with about 18000 annual deaths – 60% of the deaths are people under the age of 70 years.
  • Because of inadequate diagnostic facilities, lack of treatment facilities, low doctor to patient ratio, high cost of treatment and drugs, poor patient follow-up and a high poverty index, the less privileged in our community bear the biggest brunt of the cancer prevention, care and treatment burden.
    • There is only one public health facility providing chemotherapy services in the country – The Kenyatta National Hospital – which caters for populations that can’t afford treatment in private facilities or abroad. These patients have to wait for months for a chance to get treated – in most cases leading to progression of the cancer to irreversible stages.
    • 70-80 percent of cancer cases are diagnosed in the late stages
    • All the other (private) facilities are in Nairobi at the M.P. Shah, Aga Khan and Nairobi Hospitals. This is unfortunate – considering that 78 percent of Kenyans live in rural areas.
  • Among the general public, the burden on cancer is increased due to lack of awareness and adequate information about the disease. For example, some people still believe that cancer occurs due to witchcraft or a cultural curse. Some believe that the disease is infectious, exacerbating stigma against patients
  • Breast and cervical cancer lead in occurrence among women, while prostrate and esophageal cancers lead among men. Childhood cancer account for about 15 percent of admission at KNH. The most common form of cancers among children are leukemia(blood cancer) and lymphoma

Some of the measures to control and lighten the cancer burden in Kenya, especially in marginalized populations, lie on awareness campaigns and health policy strategies and implementation. This is the core of the Kenya Cancer Association’s work. In accordance with the private-public partnership underscored in the National Cancer Prevention and Control Act, KAY SEVEN GROUP wishes, with your help, to help KENCASA get closer to achieving cancer care for every Kenyan.


The Kenya Cancer Association is a non-for profit organization whose activities are geared towards attaining a Kenya free of cancer. Each year, KENCASA, with the empowering of the American Cancer Society, pulls its resources together to hold the Relay for Life event.

The Relay for Life is the largest global fundraising movement which, through a local cancer organization in each partnering country, works to promote community cancer awareness and to advocate for cancer control, care, policy, research and patient support.

This life-changing event, held at the Nyayo National Stadium, brings together stakeholders and community representatives from all walks of life who, among other activities, form teams that must have a team mate running or walking around the track at all times. The Relay for Life not only raises the much needed funds to fight cancer, but also celebrates those who have won the battle and remembers the loved ones that have been lost.

Since its first edition in 2014, the event has attracted over 4000 participants. Because of this KENCASA has been able to achieve the following:

  • In the past one year,  over 150 patients have received cancer care support (emotional and psychological) and financial assistance through a specialized NHIF health cover
  • Every month, over 500 patients are fed and given support as they attend their cancer treatment sessions at Kenyatta National Hospital cancer unit. In July 2016, KENCASA officially launched the cancer patients’ feeding program at Kenyatta National Hospital (see pictures here)
  • Over 1 million people have been reached through advocacy and public awareness