Kenyans will from today have access to accurate cancer information in easy to read English and Kiswahili booklets and fliers, in a bid to debunk myths particularly among cancer patients, their families and caregivers.
Some of the documents will also include how health workers should communicate, tactfully, to cancer patients about their diagnosis factoring in the anxiety of the patient, understanding of the disease among others. Otherwise, poor communication has been known to affect a patient’s adherence to treatment, an increase in a patients fears over their condition and ultimately, poor response to treatment.
The materials, which will also provide “evidenced based cancer information” were developed by the Kenya Network of Cancer Organizations, the American Cancer Society and the Ministry of Health.
Health Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu is expected to launch the materials today ahead of World Cancer Day marked globally on February 4.
Head of National Cancer Control Program at the Ministry of Health Dr Anne Ng’ang’a said this launch was vital in addressing a disease that, due to high costs of treatment and its management, is pushing Kenyan households into poverty.
Cancer is the third major cause of death among Kenyans after infectious and cardiovascular diseases – with about 60 deaths daily – with most Kenyans diagnosed late due to lack of information and lack timely treatment and if treatment is available, it may have little or no benefits to the patients.
She added: “Public education is a key component of cancer prevention, thus the launch of these materials will significantly contribute to the national cancer control efforts.”
The standardised public cancer information materials – such as a 52-page booklet for patients and their caregivers, flipcharts among others – was informed by a study last year by the American Cancer Society that sought to determine Kenyans’ knowledge, attitudes and practices about cancer.
David Makumi, chairman of the Kenya Network of Cancer Organizations added: “These simple, easy to understand and culturally appropriate materials will greatly contribute to improving patients and caregivers’ experience and provide them with the information they need to follow through with treatment.”