For the last one month, Westlands Medical Centre has been running a screening program for prostate and cervical cancers at the Ngong Road branch. Quite a number of people took advantage of this and came to be tested. The aim was to increase awareness on the two killer diseases in Kenya.
As we know, prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer in Kenya. Cervical cancer on the other hand is one of the leading female cancers. According to the Ministry of Health figures, up to 8 women die daily in Kenya due to cervical cancer. The importance of early screening therefore cannot be gainsaid.
During the screening, a number of fears and misconceptions were addressed. These fears are thought to be some of reasons for fewer people going for screening. It is estimated that less than 20% of us go for screening for either our prostate or cervix. We think it is painful, we are embarrassed to present our very private areas to a doctor’s eyes, we are even afraid of facing the truth if there is a chance we might have it.
It is understandable to be afraid of rectal examination or Pap smear. The important thing is to look at the benefits: the peace of mind we get knowing we have been examined. Cancer is treatable. Chances are infinitely better if detected early. It is also cheaper to treat early.
Let us look at how they develop. Prostate glands enlarge with age. The growth becomes cancerous when the cells grow uncontrollably. Quite often, this is a slow moving process. Cervical cancer on the other hand is caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
To reduce chances of developing cancer, a healthy lifestyle is encouraged. This includes regular exercises, cutting on smoking and having a healthy diet. For cervical cancer, a vaccine is also available.
Early screening for cancer is vital. We encourage men especially over the age of 40 to come for regular prostate cancer screening. Women over the age of 19 should also make a point of going for a regular pap smear. Westlands Medical Centre offers a warm friendly and professional environment to be tested. Visit us at either our Westlands or Ngong Road branches.