Breast Cancer in Kenya- Key Facts on Prevention, Early Diagnosis and Optimal Treatment


 Breast Cancer – The commonest cancer in Kenya

Breast cancer is a significant health challenge in Kenya. 

This disease ranks as the most common cancer among women in the country, with 7,243 new cases, representing 25.5% of all female cancer cases. 

Notably, breast cancer tends to affect women at a younger age in Kenya, typically between 35-50 years, which differs from patterns seen in Western countries. 

Regrettably, breast cancer stands as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Kenya, claiming over 3,00 lives annually, highlighting the urgent need for effective prevention and treatment strategies.

How common is breast cancer in Kenya?

According to Globocan 2022 data, In Kenya, breast cancer is a prevalent and concerning health issue. Among women, it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer, with 7,243 new cases reported, making up a significant portion of the female cancer burden in the country.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Various risk factors contribute to the development of breast cancer in Kenya. These include 

  • Genetic mutations eg BRCA gene mutation
  • Family history of the disease
  • Advancing age
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Lifestyle factors such as obesity and alcohol consumption. 

Understanding and addressing these risk factors are crucial in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is vital for early detection and prompt treatment. Common indicators in Kenya may include the presence of a 

  • Breast lump, 
  • changes in breast size or shape,
  •  skin alterations like
    • dimpling,
    • nipple changes such as inversion or discharge
    • redness scaling of the breast skin.
  • Being aware of these signs can lead to timely medical intervention.

Preventing Breast Cancer: Strategies to Keep You Healthy

Preventive measures play a crucial role in combating breast cancer in Kenya.

Self-care for Better Breast Health

  • Encouraging physical activity,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • avoiding alcohol and tobacco use, and
  • promoting early diagnosis through regular screenings and
  • genetic testing
  • These are essential strategies in reducing the incidence and impact of breast cancer in the population.

Screening for breast cancer

In Kenya, screening for breast cancer is recommended to detect the disease at early stages when treatment outcomes are more favourable. Guidelines suggest annual clinical breast exams for women aged 25 and above, with mammography advised annually for women between 40-55 years. These screening modalities aim to identify any abnormalities in the breast tissue promptly.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Diagnosing breast cancer in Kenya involves a comprehensive approach that includes 

Timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial for initiating appropriate treatment and improving patient outcomes.

Read more: Diagnosis of breast cancer – the role of laboratory testing

Treatment and Management

The management of breast cancer in Kenya is multifaceted and tailored to each patient’s specific condition. 

Treatment options may include 

  • Surgery (lumpectomy – Removal of lump or mastectomy – removal of the entire breast), 
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy.

 Efforts are ongoing to enhance survival rates for metastatic breast cancer through the provision of comprehensive treatment modalities and regular follow-up care to address the challenges in breast cancer control in the country.

Related Posts

Read Next: Laboratory Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

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The information provided on this medical blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this blog. The authors and publishers of this blog are not liable for any errors or omissions in the content or for any actions taken based on the information provided.


  • Dr Peter Ndungu

    Health care practiioner with more than 15 years experience. My area of interst is women health and gynecologic oncology in particular

    View all posts Consultant Obstetrician/Gynecologist
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