Deaths caused by HIV, TB and Malaria combined are no equivalent to the deaths Cancer causes globally. Low and middle-income countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and many African countries carry more than 70% of the global Cancer burden.
Closer home, Cancer is the third highest cause of death in Kenya. It contributes to more than 7% of the total deaths each year and the percentage is likely to be even more with an average rough estimate of around 30,000 deaths per year. Around 41,000 new cases are recorded yearly and 67% of the Kenyans who are affected are younger than 70 years. Many cancer cases are diagnosed in their late stages because many Kenyans don’t get the required awareness, they don’t have adequate facilities for screening and treatment and the high cost of treatment which is usually fuelled by the high poverty index.
Breast cancer and Cervical Cancer are the leading types of cancers affecting women while Oesophagal Cancer and Prostate cancer leading in men.
Here is a list of famous Kenyans who succumbed to Cancer after battling it out for some time.
1. Janet Kanini Ikua
Janet was very vocal about her condition and was determined to beat it at all costs. The former NTV presenter died on 1st April 2017 after battling Lung cancer for quite some time. She had even declared to be cancer free early February last year but fate had it the other way round.
2. Wangari Maathai
The renowned Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner died of ovarian cancer at the Nairobi Hospital on 25th September 2011. She was the first African woman to win the Nobel peace prize and was a very aggressive environmental crusader who founded the Green Belt Movement. She was a towering figure both locally and internationally. She was 71 years old by the time of her death.
3. Waweru Mburu
The former head of Radio Citizen and the famous voice behind the most listened to morning show “Yaliyotendeka” succumbed to gastric cancer at MP Shah Hospital on 28th September 2016. Waweru was a Kiswahili teacher before joining the media industry and during his sunset years, he had intentions of vying for the Maragua Parliamentary seat.
4. David Mwiraria
Mwiraria died at Karen Hospital on April 13th, 2017 after battling cancer for some time. He served as a finance minister until 2007.
5. Harrison Kiptoo Korir
If you can remember, Deputy President William Ruto lost his younger brother to Kidney Cancer at the Nairobi hospital. William Ruto insisted on the need for regular screening for everybody to know their status while addressing mourners at Kamagut, Turbo, Uasin Gishu County.
6. Prof. Calestous Juma
Prof. Calestous died in Boston after battling cancer for some time. By the time of his death, Prof. Juma was a professor of the practice of the International Development and Faculty Chair of the innovation for Economic development executive program at Harvard Kennedy School.
He had been named one of the most influential 100 Africans in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the New African Magazine and he had very many plans to help the youth back in Kenya.
7. Ben Muchemi
The veteran safari rally driver succumbed to stomach cancer at MP Shah Hospital on the 22nd Of December 2013. He was the chairman of stadia management board, Safaricom dealers Association, Rallye Sports Club and Kenya Racing Team by the time of his death
8. Francis Nyenze
The former Kitui West Parliamentarian Francis Nyenze died on the 6th December 2017 after a very long battle with colon cancer.
9. Nderitu Gachagua
Nderitu Gachagua died at a London Hospital on 24th April 2017 while undergoing treatment. He died from pancreatic cancer, an illness which had earlier saw him admitted in a hospital in the UK for close to two months before coming back to Kenya.