Kenya Cancer Statistics & National Strategies

Reports & Links

Cancer Statistics (estimated)


  • Globally, Cancer causes more deaths than HIV, TB and Malaria combined
  • 70% of the global Cancer burden is in LMICs (low and middle income countries) like Kenya
  • 30% of cancers are curable if detected early; 30% of cancers are treatable with prolonged survival if detected early; 30% of cancer patients can be provided with adequate symptom management and palliative care.


  • Cancer is the 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya [7% of deaths per year], after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases
  • Difficult to get accurate national data because most data is coming from Nairobi and other urbanized settings.
  • Estimate 39,000 new cases of Cancer each year in Kenya with more than 27,000 deaths per year
  • 60% of Kenyans affected by Cancer are younger than 70 years old
  • Leading Cancers:
    • Women: Breast (34 per 100,000), Cervical (25 per 100,000)
    • Men: Prostate (17 per 100,000), Esophageal (9 per 100,000)
  • 70-80% of cancer cases are diagnosed in late stages
    • Due to: Lack of awareness; —Inadequate diagnostic facilities; —Lack of treatment facilities; High cost of treatment; High poverty Index
  • Number of radiation centers in the country: 4 (all in Nairobi – KNH, MP Shah, Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan)
  • Number of treatment facilities: 4 (2 main, 2 limited)
  • Human Capacity for cancer treatment in Kenya (public sector):
    • 4 radiation oncologists
    • 6 medical oncologists
    • 4 pediatric oncologists
    • 5 radiation therapy technologists
    • 3 oncology nurses
    • 2 medical physicists

Childhood Cancer in Kenya

[data from Feb 2013 presentation by Dr. Jessie Githanga, pediatric oncologist at Kenyatta National Hospital]

  • Childhood cancer accounted for 15% of cancer admissions at KNH [1998-2008]
  • 1 in 10 children survive cancer in Kenya [compared to 7 in 10 in the developed countries]
  • Challenges in childhood cancer care: poor access to care for patients in remote/rural areas; limited specialist treatment centers; prohibitive cost of anti-cancer drugs; low levels of awareness in clinicians and public;
  • Possible signs of childhood cancer: lumps/swellings; unexplained weakness or paleness; easy bruising/nose or gum bleeding; persistent unexplained fever/illness; constant pain; frequent headaches, often with vomiting; sudden eye or vision changes; sudden unexplained weight loss; limping/inability to walk properly

Cancer Control Strategies and Guidelines

(See links above)

  • National Cancer Control Strategy (2011-2016); developed, launched and being implemented
  • National Cervical Cancer Programme Strategic Plan (2012-2015)
  • National Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancers (2012)
  • National Palliative Care Guidelines. Ministry of Health, 2013.
  • National Guidelines for Cancer Management Kenya. Ministry of Health, 2013.

59 thoughts on “Kenya Cancer Statistics & National Strategies

  1. Pingback: Kenya Cancer Statistics & National Initiatives | Africa Cancer Foundation

  2. Hello,
    It great that we can get some info on cance in the ountry. great too to see that the government is keen to start initiatives to start addressing the disease. I work for a company that has prothesis for mastectomy survivors. Is reconconstrucive surgery consider by the government as part of the treatment plan?

  3. Hello,
    It great that we can get some info on cance in the country. great too to see that the government is keen to start initiatives to start addressing the disease. I work for a company that has prothesis for mastectomy survivors. Is reconconstrucive surgery consider by the government as part of the treatment plan?

  4. since they say cancer disease is genetic! would you advice the family members to go for test after one of the parents is diagnosed with it?

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  6. Pingback: Cancer Statistics in Kenya | Kenya Network of Cancer Organizations

  7. Awesome! I like your starting words to keep the visitor stay and read your full blog post. Anyhow the overall post is really informative and contains tons of knowledgeable factors. Thank u so much for sharing this post.I wanna share some information about medicine manufacturers for you.Please visit:
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  8. It is high time government allocated more money to the ministry of health in Kenya. This would help train more specialists in oncology. Many people are dying without even knowing that they have cancer.

  9. As a community trainer please help me get some hard copies of these very important documents so that as i empower/create awareness in the community i have concrete and factual information and some ref material to refer to.
    1) National guidelines for prevention and management of cervical, breast and prostate cancers 2012
    2) National palliative care guidelines. Ministry of health 2013.
    My address is
    Edwin Masheti
    P.O Box 61805-00200
    Nrb- Kenya

  10. Pingback: Breast Cancer – What are the Risk Factors?

  11. I have come across many patient undergoing chemotherapy and when interviewed,many say they were diagnosed late as they hadnt known that it was something serious

  12. Cervical cancer is preventable through early screening. Cancer education should start at primary school level. Every Child should know what cancer is, what causes it and How to prevent. As one involved in cervical cancer screening for many years i get sad when i see poor old
    women coming for cervical cancer screening when it is already advanced.let us all rise and act. Educate, access screening services, train more personnel in cancer management.

  13. The will to fight and live on has carried so many cancer survivors to victory over the disease.
    Casino dice games where the number (11) is a winning combination should favor you.
    These are based on studies made by the European Commission on Endocrine

  14. Low awareness is main hindrance to prevention and control.
    Engage Health Promotion Officers in social mobilization on cancer screening.
    Every county in kenya has these capable officers as we are doing in nyandarua county.

  15. am starting a campaign , changamsha dada campaign , where every lady is expected to be her sisters keeper…….. take 4 of your friends to any public hospital,get screened for ca cervix and ca breast ,its free……. and wallaaaa you will have added a day into their lives and your friendship too

    • Hi Muthoni,
      My name is Phoebe Mugo and i am a Doctoral student in the area of public health and would like to work with you in this topic. My dissertation is on cancer prevelance in Kenya and how we can reduce the disparity.

      • Hi,I am also a public health student interested i a range of topics featuring Kenya. would like to chat with like minded professionals looking to do something on or about these circumstances

    • Hi Muthoni, my name is Brenda. I do Documentary stories and right now im working on a cancer story. I was intrigued by your cancer screening campaign. I was wondering if we could talk.

  16. It’s about time, time when Kenyans be made aware of this “Disaster”. I feel the government isn’t doing enough to create awareness and measures of countering cancer. It’s quite sad that we’re lacking facilities and specialists. I’m in solidarity, in faith and love for, with the infected and the affected. 💕

  17. I really emphatize with all the cancer victims. I also happen to come from a community with many such cases- the Kerio valley lower region. I am very interested in carrying out my undergraduate and even thereafter masters, Phd research under this chronic illness.

  18. much of cancer cases are generated from urban centers, who knows what is happening in remote semi-arid part of Kenya where residents solely depend on mycotoxins contaminated maize?

  19. Cancer awareness is a major problem in Kenya. Im currently working on a story about cancer. I do Documentary stories. Anyone who would help me find a good story of lack of awareness in a particular region in Kenya. I will really appreciate. Or any other factor that really is being overlooked and is costing our loved ones their lives. we can build the story together.

    • Brenda am inspired by yo innitiative and strategy of sensitization and raising awareness on cancer, am an international trainner on health related matters, including trainning and education on cancer matters…on 6th of dis month, i had a health talk on Cancer at 680hotel in nairobi..and so many pple was owesome kindly if possible we can meet and we brain storm on how we can partner..

      • Hi Anthony K.I am a 2016 form 4.I am a passionate volunteer who loves helping. My project via my micro NGO (Live Again Mama) is to help sensitize women about cancer.I would like to create its awareness in kenya and help many women access health care.I really want to help.

  20. Am Anthony, a health practitioner and an International Trainer on health based matters. My opinion on cancer would be…Increased public awareness, sensitization, training and routine Cancer check ups..secondly educating the public on the lifestyles to be avoided wch may lead to cancer. Brenda get to me.thanx

  21. Pingback: Safaricom Foundation allocates Kshs 36 million for diabetes and cancer clinics - Potentash

  22. Hello, I know cancer cases have been on the increase in Kenya. The Kenyan community in the diaspora has not been spared. As a diasporian, I know many people in the west are now avoiding chemo and other traditional treatments and prefering alternative treatments which are radical and diet based. There are now many centers in the US and Europe. Do we have these centers in Kenya? Cancer is a serious epidemic here in the US and I know many survivers who have gone the alternative way.

  23. Cancer is a lifestyle disease and can be prevented/managed using lifestyle changes can reduce suffering. Improved nutrition is key to success but we also need to have the health industry take interest in food and the food industry take interest in health since food is the foundation of health. We need wellness centres in all counties to complement the efforts of existing facilities.

  24. cancer is one of the emerging diseases that is coming up very fast and requires a lot interventions and team working in order to conquer it. Despite all these, cancer data is a major challenge. We need to come up with a universal reporting tool to capture cancer data. For example in the DHIS reporting tools, cancer is not captured and a lot of data is not reported in Kenya. As an area of interest, am conducting some research in cervical cancer after loosing my close relatives and friends, after which i will do another one on prostate cancer which is increasing in numbers. My humble request is how to get funds supports to enable me researches. Since it is only through research that we can address the root cause in order to minimise the incidence rates.

  25. Pingback: Top 5 Cancers in Kenya – OncologyKenya

  26. This is very informative. Esophageal cancer as well as leukemia also need to be checked especially in-terms of awareness. I would like to see a 0.0001% prevalence of all types of cancers in Kenya!!

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