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Top 10 counties with the highest cancer cases

Cancer claims the lives of over 30,000 Kenyans annually

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha during the opening ceremony of the National Cancer Summit 2023

The health outcomes of cancer in Kenya are becoming a concern as numbers continue rising in major counties such as Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos and Kiambu.

According to the National Cancer Institute of Kenya (NIC - Kenya) report released on Thursday February 2, the most common cancer types reported in the National Cancer Registry for the period 2021/2022 were breast (15.9%), cervix (13.3%), and esophagus (11.8%).

Meanwhile, prostate and colorectal cancers were the fourth and fifth most commonly reported types, accounting for 10.1% and 7.1% of the total cases respectively.


The survey showed that up to 70 percent of cases of Cancer are diagnosed in the late stages and two out of three cancer patients succumb to the disease.

Overall, the country records an average of 47,887 cancer cases and up to 32, 500 deaths every year.

However, the report revealed that only 23% of patients have access to treatment and care services.

The distribution of cancer occurrences across the counties showed a significant geographical variability.


The report showed that the Central and Eastern regions demonstrated a higher rate of cancer cases reported on the National Cancer Registry. A similar distribution of the burden was noted when it was compared by gender.

The following top ten counties accounted for 63% and 62% of the total cancer burden among females and males respectively.

  1. Nairobi
  2. Nakuru
  3. Kiambu
  4. Machakos
  5. Nyeri
  6. Murang'a
  7. Kitui
  8. Kirinyaga
  9. Embu
  10. Nyandarua

Breast cancer is the most common cancer type in the country. The highest number of cases were recorded in Nairobi (140), while Wajir, Lamu, Tana River and Elgeyo Marakwet had no cases during the period under review.

This is the second most reported cancer type in Kenya and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Kenya.

In the 2021/2022 period, the highest cases were reported in Nakuru (84), followed by Machakos ( 74), and Nairobi (66).


Esophageal cancer is the fourth most reported type and has very low chances of survival.

The highest propotion of cases were reported in Kakamega, Nyeri and Nakuru counties. No cases were recorded in Isiolo, and Lamu counties.

This is the most common cancer reported among Kenyan men. Among the 642 cases of prostate cancer reported in FY 2021/2022, 64 cases were recorded in Nairobi, while 58 cases in Nakuru and Machakos counties each.


Highest number of colorectal cancer was reported in Nakuru followed by Nairobi and Kiambu.


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