Breast cancer treatment in Kenya

Breast cancer treatment in Kenya as you suspected is the uncontrolled cell growth starting in the breast and affects women more compared to men. Some of the risk factors associated with cancer of the breast include family history of breast cancer, female gender, obesity, hormone exposure in contraceptives, and alcohol abuse. Diagnosis include imaging of the breast and examination of the breast for cancer cells in the medical laboratory.

Following the identification of cancer cells in the breast, early and immediate treatment is advised and increases chances of recovery depending on the size, type and stage of the breast cancer. Treatment protocol include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery; mastectomy which may be followed by radiotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.

In Kenya, common and available treatment options are radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and hormone therapy which is largely limited to few breast cancer treatment facilities.

 How is Breast Cancer Treated?

There are several ways of treating breast cancer which depends on the kind of breast cancer and its extent of infection (how far it has speed). People suffering from breast cancer often get more than one type of cancer treatment. The types of treatment include;

  1. Surgery-this is an operation where the doctor cuts open and removes the affected or malignant part.
  2. Chemotherapy-offered special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer cells.
  3. Hormonal therapy-this is initiated to block the cancer cells from getting the right hormones they need for growth.
  4. Biological therapy-works by boosting the body's immune system to become stronger to fight the cancer cells.
  5. Radiation therapy-using high energy rays more than x-ray to kill cancer cells.

Basically, to say, these are the breast cancer treatment options;

  1. Surgery-this is an operation where the doctor cuts open and removes the affected or malignant part.
  2. Chemotherapy-offered special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer cells.
  3. Hormonal therapy-this is initiated to block the cancer cells from getting the right hormones they need for growth.
  4. Biological therapy-works by boosting the body's immune system to become stronger to fight the cancer cells.
  5. Radiation therapy-using high energy rays more than x-ray to kill cancer cells.

How about the Insane costs of breast cancer treatment in kenya

Thinking the cost of cancer treatment is one of the distressing things in Kenya. The costs can literally give you sleepiness nights or even run mad. They are usually out of reach for most households. Meanwhile, lets dive into the cost of breast cancer treatment at least to alleviate you of some stress of going over hundreds of articles to get this information. 

Basic breast cancer treatment in Kenya costs between Sh175,200 and Sh1.98 million.

The cost shoots up to between Sh758,000 and Sh2.48 million when surgery — which would be either a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy — is involved.


The following facilities offer treatment of cancer of the breast.

Public hospitals


  1. Coast General Hospital, Kisauni Road, Mombasa, Tel: 040 231 4204, Cell: 0722 207 868

 Provides cancer screening, chemotherapy and surgery.


  1. Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Hospital road, Nairobi, Tel: 020 272 6450, Cell: 0709 854000/ 0730 643000

Breast cancer services provided include screening, diagnosis, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy treatment, and palliative care.


  1. Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Nandi Road, Eldoret, Tel: (+254) 053-2033471/2/3/4, Cell: 0722 201277/ 0734 600461

Provides cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and education in collaboration with AMPATH Oncology Centre.


Private Hospitals


  1. Aga Khan University Hospital, Limuru Road, Parklands, Nairobi, Tel: 020 366 20137/2644, Cell: 0732 688 911

Offers screening, specialized diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and rehabilitation services.


  1. Beacon Health Services Cancer Treatment Center, 5th Ngong Avenue, Nairobi, Cell: 0714 298 000, 0736 998 000

Offers diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer on out-patient basis.


  1. Kijabe Mission Hospital, Kijabe Road, Kijabe, Tel: 020 324 6500, Cell: 0733 779 994

Provides screening, diagnosis, chemotherapy and surgical treatment, and palliative care.


  1. Mater Hospital, Dunga Road, South B, Nairobi; Tel: 020 653 1199, 0733 641 870

Offers diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.


  1. M.P Shah Hospital/Cancer Care Kenya, Shivachi Road, Nairobi; Tel: 020 374 0132; Cell: 0733 606 752

M.P Shah Hospital in its Cancer Care Center offers specialized diagnosis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.


  1. Nairobi Hospital, Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi; Cell: 0722 204 114

Offers breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, palliative care and rehabilitation services.


  1. Texas Cancer Center,
  2. Keri Road, Nairobi West, Nairobi; Cell: 0716 279 632

     Offers the following cancer services;

cancer screening, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and raise awareness on cancer including cancer of the breast.


  1. Nairobi Hospice Kenyatta National Hospital Complex, Hospital Road, Nairobi; Tel: 020 271 383

Offers specialized palliative care services on an out-patient basis and home basis to cancer patients.

More about Breast Cancer (Breast carcinoma)

The female breast and to an extent the male breast is made up of three main parts: connective tissue, lobules, and ducts. The connective tissue as the name suggests is connects everything together including ducts and lobules, lobules are glandular and thus produce milk while the ducts carry milk to the nipple. Since there is a connective tissue in the breast, the uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast is called carcinoma of the breast. In some instances, breast carcinoma may spread to other organs and when that happens, carcinoma of the breast is said to have metastasized.

Detection of Breast carcinoma

Early detection of carcinoma of the breast is necessary for positive outcomes following subsequent treatment of the carcinoma. Early detection begins with a not-so medical test in which in which the individual self-examines himself or herself for any unusual swelling, appearance or pain. At the medical level, detection involves the following techniques:


  • Mammography; is the imaging of the breast using X-rays and it remains the best technique to detect carcinoma of the breast at its onset.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) of the breast; this is the use of radio waves and magnets to produce an image of the breast. It is often used along with mammography.
  • Clinical breast examination; a nurse or doctor examines the breast for lumps or any changes in the breast.
  • Self-awareness; as reiterated above, self-awareness remains critical in the detection of carcinoma of the breast.


Following the positive detection of breast carcinoma using the above techniques, diagnosis in a medical laboratory follows to help identify the carcinoma and consequently characterize it. Staging is indicated based on the characteristics of the breast carcinoma, size of the carcinoma, and involvement of hormone receptors. Staging helps in decision-making on treatment options, likely outcomes of the carcinoma, and in rare cases recruitment for clinical trials.

Staging ranges from numbers 0, I, II, III, IV which indicate the location of the carcinoma to mean if the cancer is within the tissue or has spread to other tissues. Based on breast parts, carcinoma of the breast can be ductal or lobular. Combination of the location of cancer; in the ducts or lobular with staging gives the final diagnosis on which treatment decision is based on and possible outcome with measures to control the progress of the carcinoma.

Is breast carcinoma curable?

Early detection and diagnosis of carcinoma of the breast have a positive effect which may mean a complete cure of the carcinoma. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgical removal of the carcinoma, hormonal treatment, immunotherapy which is the leveraging of the body’s protective mechanisms in treatment of cancer.

Surgical treatment 

Surgical treatment of the carcinoma of the breast involves removal of the cancerous tissue often called in the breast often called mastectomy which depending on size and spread of the carcinoma may involve complete excision of the breast. Mastectomy is often followed by radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy for breast cancer treatment

Radiation is often used following mastectomy in measure to clear any cancerous cells that maybe they're in the breast following surgery. Radiotherapy is targeted and localized to the breast in an effort to minimize radiation to other non-involved parts of the body. It is high-beam energy targeted at cancerous cells but will also cause damage to normal cells.

Radiotherapy side effects

Side effects that may be accompanied radiotherapy include:

  • On the skin; the skin is the exposed part on which radiation was targeted and associated side effects may include itching, sunburn appearance, soreness, burning sensation, and mild to moderate redness on the site of the skin.
  • Other side effects may include:

- fatigue

- decreased white blood cell numbers

- armpit discomfort

- chest pain

Management of side effects will mainly target the skin and include:

  • wearing loose-fitting shirts or tops and preferably cotton
  • avoid soaps that may be harsh to the skin
  • showering using warm water

Other side effects tend to resolve post-radiotherapy.


Questions Frequently Asked about Breast Cancer in Kenya Include

  1. what is the best treatment for stage 0 breast cancer?

    The following are treatment options for stage 0 breast cancer (non-invasive, or in situ). Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

    Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) increases a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer, but it is not considered cancer. They include:

    • Surgery. Surgery is the main treatment for DCIS. ...
    • Radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy is usually given after breast-conserving surgery for DCIS.
    • Hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapy may be offered after breast-conserving surgery for hormone receptor-positive DCIS.
    • Clinical trials.


  2. how long can you live with breast cancer without treatment?

    According to the American Cancer Society, a relative survival rate compares women with the same type and stage of breast cancer to women in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of breast cancer is 90%, it means that women who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as women who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed. Also, The NCBI reports that the Median survival time of the 250 patients followed to death was 2.7 years. Actuarial 5- and 10-year survival rates for these patients with untreated breast cancer was 18.4% and 3.6%, respectively. For the amalgamated 1,022 patients, median survival time was 2.3 years.
  3. how long is radiation treatment for breast carcinoma?

    According to MayoClinic,
    External beam radiation of the whole breast.
    For many years, whole-breast irradiation was typically delivered in one radiation treatment a day, five days a week (usually Monday through Friday), for about five to six weeks. Accelerated radiation approaches are now common.
  4. How long is a session of cancer radiation therapy?

    In most instances, treatments are usually spread out over several weeks to allow your healthy cells to recover in between radiation therapy sessions. Expect each treatment session to last approximately 10 to 30 minutes.
  5. What is the natural treatment for breast cancer?

    As we put an end to this educative post, there are some examples of plants that are used in breast carcinoma, for example, ginko, goldenseal, ginseng, garlic, Echinacea, aloe vera and saw palmetto. For medicinal purposes, many types of native herbs are used in Americans Indians, for example, black cohosh, goldenseal, ragweed, and snakeroot.

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Date published: 22/09/2017
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