Connect with us


New cancers on the rise




More by this Author

During her last days, she had become very weak due to lack of appetite. Her blood level was also on the decline and transfusion couldn’t help much.

For patients to undergo chemotherapy, they need to not only be strong but to also have enough blood in the veins

For these two reasons, Elizabeth Wamaitha’s chemotherapy sessions had to be postponed. The 24-year-old succumbed to stage four colon cancer on July 14, 2018, almost five months after her story first appeared in the Nation.

When Ms Wamaitha’s story was published, she was the youngest patient to have been diagnosed with colon cancer. Most of the patients found with the disease are often above the age of 40.

“She was my only sister and the last-born in our family of four children and we buried her the following Friday on July 20, 2018,” recounted her brother Edmond Mwaura.

Mwaura says he learnt about two years ago that his sister was ailing from a disease he later found out was cancer.

“It was really hard for me to accept it, but I kept my hopes up and firmly believed she would be healed,” he told the Saturday Nation.

Even as cancer treatment improves and survival rates go up, so, too, does the number of people afflicted with the deadly disease.

New global cancer data suggests the global cancer burden has risen to 18.1 million cases. The cases are predicted to grow to 29.5 million by 2040.

Last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recorded 9.6 million cancer deaths.

According to WHO’s latest global cancer data, one in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease.

The burden of cancer is only increasing and according to WHO the factors behind it are population growth, ageing, late detection and screening.

Whereas the international agency notes that globally lung and female breast cancers are the leading types of cancer worldwide, cancer experts in Kenya predict a shift in pattern as cancers of the food pipe and stomach are increasingly ravaging young people in the country and quickly becoming top killers.

In its Globocan report that analyses new cases and deaths among men and women, the IARC notes oesophagus cancer kills 4,354 Kenyans every year, overtaking cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancers.

Most of the patients are diagnosed when the disease is already at advanced stages.

Before she was diagnosed with colon cancer, Ms Wamaitha always felt bloated. Doctors at her school kept putting her on anti-bloating medication, which never really relieved her discomfort, despite taking the medication for six months without any signs of improvement. Her family sought a second opinion.

While doctors were able to slightly improve her outcome, Ms Wamaitha succumbed to stomach cancer, which was diagnosed much later into her treatment.

But her predicament with late diagnosis is not unique. Recently, at the age of 41, Kibra MP Ken Okoth revealed he is battling cancer. Just like many patients, his diagnosis with colorectal cancer came in late.

“I was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer with metastases to the liver,” he told a local daily.

For over a year, he said, he presented symptoms of ulcers, at times bacterial infections and that is what he was being treated for. At some point, he was even prescribed medication to manage stress.


By the time his doctor ordered some advanced scans, the cancer had already advanced to stage four.

According to Dr Andrew Odhiambo, an oncologist at Kenyatta National Hospital and Nairobi Radiotherapy and Cancer Centre, cancers of the food pipe are rapidly increasing in the country and so are the delays in diagnosing them.

“If you are being treated for a condition repeatedly, be it amoeba or typhoid, make sure you get a second opinion because as it is, some cancers will often present like normal ailments.

“Some, like stomach cancer, will present like acidity or heartburn and the doctor seeing you will not tell the difference between the two. It is the repeated nature of going to hospital over the same issue that will ring a bell for further tests,” he explained.

While the disease is known to affect mostly older patients, especially men, Dr Odhiambo said there is a new trend of younger patients being diagnosed with it.

“This is not a surprise. We are seeing more patients with oesophagus and stomach cancers than before and most come after many months or years of misdiagnosis, when the disease has advanced.

“Unlike the demographics in Europe and the West, here in Africa we are having younger patients coming to the clinic with the disease,” he said.

Some of the trigger factors for cancers of the gastric system include links of food pipe cancer to volcanic soils, alcohol and tobacco chewing or smoking.

“Most of the gastric cancers we are seeing are already in stage four, which is often too late. Something that is very weird is that when patients have an explanation for what could be ailing them, they become at ease.

For instance, if you are told you have H.pylori, you will be at ease not knowing whether something else more dangerous could be lurking underneath that H.pylori,” he added.

For patients aged over 50, experiencing weight loss and anaemia, and who have been taking acidity drugs for over a month, Dr Odhiambo advised immediate screening as there could be something wrong.

“People with a family history of cancer should also go for screening, which includes stool tests and colonoscopy, as they are at a higher risk of developing the cancer.”

Colorectal cancer symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. Some commonly experienced symptoms are changes in bowel habits, changes in stool consistency, blood in the stool and abdominal discomfort.

“These symptoms, however, differ depending on whether the cancer is detected in the patient’s right or left side of the colon.”

For instance, he says, if the cancer is on the left side of the colon, patients are likely to spot blood in their stool.

This is because the left side of the colon is closer to the rectum compared with the right colon.

“Patients who have the cancer on the right side will often present with fatigue, weight loss and anaemia. This is because they are silently loosing blood which is not spotted it in their stool as the right side of the colon is far from the rectum,” Dr Odhiambo said.

As a result, many patients often have their diagnosis when the cancer is in an advanced stage.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
[email protected]    


Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

Continue Reading


Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised


“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through

Continue Reading


William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

Continue Reading


Kenyan Tribune