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NAIROBI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Ministry of Health on Friday launched a national cancer control strategic plan to guide the prevention and control of the non-communicable disease.

Susan Nakhumicha, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health, said the 2023-2028 cancer control strategy will ensure the country tame a disease that is to blame for straining public health systems and negatively impacting economic growth.

"My ministry in this new plan will also prioritize improving public awareness and knowledge on cancer as well as strengthening the health system to better address the burden of the disease right from the community level," Nakhumicha said during the launch of the plan in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

She said the government has prioritized public awareness of cancer and its risk factors while fighting stigma, myths, and misconceptions that have contributed to the low uptake of cancer screening services.

Abdourahmane Diallo, World Health Organization country representative to Kenya, revealed that about one-third of deaths from cancer are due to lifestyle activities such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity.

Diallo said cancer-causing infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis, are responsible for approximately 30 percent of cancer cases in low- and lower-middle-income countries. He stressed that partnerships are capable of promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing cancer, and putting measures in place for early detection of the disease.

According to Patrick Amoth, acting director general for health in the Ministry of Health, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Kenya after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

He said going by the current trends, it is projected that there will be an estimated 58,000 new cancer cases in Kenya in the year 2028, rising to an estimated 95,217 cases by 2040 due to population growth, increased life expectancy, urbanization, and an increase in risk factors for cancer. - Xinhua

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