First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to change their lifestyles and eat traditional foods to avoid cancer. She said Kenyans must make hard decisions by “saying enough is enough” if the cancer scourge is to be dealt with.

Medical data shows that this illness has had a heavy toll on the society largely due to dietary and environmental factors. “We must now return to our roots and reintroduce into our diets healthy foods, such as sweet potatoes, arrow roots, yams, cassava and boiled foods,” Margaret said.

She spoke at a sponsors’ breakfast meeting ahead of the July 1921 Ninth Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference. The Office of the First Lady is the convener and organiser of the conference, which is a follow-up to the Windhoek, Namibia, conference last year. Other conveners are the Health ministry and the Princess Nikky Breast Cancer Foundation.

The theme of the conference will be Investing to Save Lives: The Role of Public Private Sector Partnerships. “We also need to keep our bodies moving with moderate to heavy exercise. We must stay vigilant through regular check-ups,” Margaret said. The burden of cancer drains family resources and the nation’s healthcare infrastructure. Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said 18.7 per cent of Kenyans are overweight while five per cent are obese. This means more than 20 per cent of our population risks developing cancer and other non-communicable diseases, he said.

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