A time of mourning becomes a time for awareness

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STOMA World Kenya recently traveled to Kisumu for the funeral of one of their members.  Reporting on the event, Sally Agallo, STOMA World Kenya’s Secretary, shares

“We recently travelled to Kisumu for a member’s burial and we were given a platform to create awareness on colon cancer. We had people ask many questions and what was a burial turned into an awareness campaign forum.”

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STOMA World Kenya reports that colon and rectal cancers have been on the rise in Kenya in the last 5 years, actually becoming in the top ten of the most burdensome cancers in society. Unfortunately, most of these cancers are diagnosed in the late stage. Surgeries that are performed to cure the disease (when diagnosed early) often result in diversion of the natural way to pass stools.  A special hole is created in the abdomen (called a stoma) which becomes the new way to pass stool and special bags are used to collect the waste (usually called colostomy, depending on where the surgery is done).  An ileostomy bag is for an ilestomy, which is the stoma created involving the small intestine, colostomy is the stoma created involving the colon or rectum.

A person who has a stoma and uses such special bags as a way of elimination is called an Ostomate.  The rehabilitation of such patients is very taxing and they need a lot of support, ranging from accessing these appliances (which are hardly available in Kenya), addressing stigma, sexuality and other quality of life issues (having to walk around with a bag is not the easiest thing to do.)  STOMA World Kenya supplies ostomy and ileostomy bags to members at their monthly meetings.  Contact STOMA World Kenya, sallykwenda@yahoo.com, 0725 234 935.

More awareness needs to be raised in communities about this and all cancers.  It’s work like that of STOMA World Kenya and other KENCO Network organisations that is shifting public perception of cancer, one talk at a time!

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