Violet Naanyu, Jemima Kamano, Vaidehi Mujumdar, Phoebe Cherono, Hillary Koros, Lennah Etyang, Lawrence Mosoi, Peter Itsura, Philip Tonui, Ejersa Waqo, Miriam Schneidman, Wilson Aruasa


Introduction: Breast and cervical cancers are increasing in Kenya. Community perceptions on these two cancers are often overlooked during research and programming. This study explores perceptions on breast and cervical cancer, focused on knowledge of severity, causes, signs, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. The goal was to use this knowledge to inform preventive and care programs for both conditions in Kenya.

Methods: The study took place in Busia and Trans-Nzoia counties, Kenya. A total of 129 participants engaged in 14 focus group discussions (FGDs) including patients, community members, and healthcare workers (HCWs). FGDs were facilitated by trained moderators and captured using audio recorders and field notes. Data were transcribed and translated into English, coded, and categorized thematically.

Findings: Misconceptions about breast and cervical cancers persist in Busia and Trans-Nzoia. Participants felt the need for more treatment services, and increased research and trainings on both cancers. Furthermore, socio-economic support of patients and political goodwill were seen as promising enablers in the prevention and care of both cancers.

Conclusion: Understanding local perceptions on diseases informs programming of care. Key stakeholders can suggest multifaceted interventions that can expand health education and trainings, treatment resources, and social programs for patients with breast or cervical cancers


Breast cancer; cervical cancer; perceptions, knowledge, Kenya

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