Cancer is the third leading cause of mortality in Kenya, accounting for 7% of annual deaths. This is mostly due to late cancer detections, but with the new blood test known as the liquid biopsy test, cancer detection will become easier.
According to a cancer report, the number of people diagnosed with cancer has doubled in the last six years. In 2012, there were 20,000 reported cases, but the number has risen to 40,000 annually.
The majority of cancer cases go undiagnosed, while 80% of cases are detected late. However, experts say, that with the introduction of a new blood test, cancer detection will become easier.
The test known as the liquid biopsy test, will also be used to track mutations of cancer genes resulting resistance to medication. Kenya will be the third country in Africa to have the technology after South Africa and Tunisia. The test will be available from May 28 for Ksh70, 000.
Patients have cited the high cost of treatment as the reason many opt to go to India or other countries to seek affordable treatment. A study by researchers from the John Hopkins University with collaboration from Australian scientists at the Walter and Eliza hall institute found that the test can be used to detect the presence of eight common cancers by sensing tiny amounts of DNA and proteins released into the bloodstream from cancer cells. The eight include; ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, esophageal, bowel, lung and breast cancers.