The Pain of Being a Poor Cancer Patient

  • Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer mortality among women in Kenya. Information and treatment is often not sought at the right time, making it a painful experience for both the person suffering and their family.
  • Among patients diagnosed with breast cancer, many forego care due to financial challenges. Vulnerable persons living from hand to mouth report high medical costs that NHIF does not cover such as consultation, screenings, medicines etc failure to pay means the end of treatment for most patients and  unfortunately the spread of cancer. Despite early detection of the cancer  financial barriers deny access to treatment. 
  • Radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions should not be missed, many of those who skip sessions die of multiple organ failure due to advanced cancer to the brain, bones, lungs and liver.

Cost of Breast Cancer Treatment in Kenya

Early Detection Saves Lives!

Perform Monthly Self- Breast Checks

  • There are three types of breast cancer treatment: Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy and Surgery additionally hormone therapy and targeted therapy.
  • The costs below exclude supportive and rehabilitative care and further investigations undertaken within treatment.
  • Radiotherapy – is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-ray to destroy cancer cells. The goal of radiation therapy is to keep the cancerous cells from recurring. On average patients may go through 6 weeks of radiation therapy (5 days a week) at an average cost of  KES 1,000 – 5,000 per session.
  • Chemotherapy -is a treatment in which drugs are used to treat cancer. The treatment works through the whole body to prevent the spread of the disease. During a course of treatment, patients may have around 4 to 8 cycles of treatment. Chemotherapy costs Sh6,000 to Sh600,000 depending on the drug used.
  • Surgery – The two types of surgery used to treat breast cancer are mastectomy (partial or total removal of breast and nearby tissues and lumpectomy( removing cancer from the breast while leaving as much of the normal breast tissue as possible. Additional surgeries for breast cancer may include lymph node dissection and breast reconstruction surgery. Average Cost: Ksh. 150,000 – 500,000.
  • NHIF  has proved helpful in relieving families of the burden of treating BC. 
  • The NHIF cover for chemotherapy is capped at Sh600,000 per beneficiary, covering six cycles, each administered monthly.
  • Radiotherapy cover is capped at Sh70,000 for 20 sessions. This works out to a maximum of Sh3,500 per session.