Cancer kills 60 Kenyans every day.
On Saturday, it claimed Janet Kanini-Ikua who was battling stage four lung cancer. Her cancer had spread to other organs in her body.
What had started as a sharp pain in her swollen and painful leg in April 2015 uncovered a cancer that spread to her liver, bones, abdomen, and lymph nodes.
She died at a Nairobi hospital.
Mrs Ikua, a mother of Peter and Jasmine and wife of George Ikua knew she had cancer on September 13, 2015, while in India.
The doctor at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi told her husband that she had between six months and a maximum of a year to live.
Lung cancer had visited her family before and taken away her father in 2008, two weeks after he had walked her down the aisle.
The 38-year-old former NTV host had been the face of bravery, hope, and optimism in the face of cancer which was reinforced when doctors gave her a clean bill of health in February 2016.
She described herself as a cancer victor and Kenyans eulogised her warmly in countless social media posts.
Larry Madowo, a former colleague and friend tweeted: “My friend Janet Kanini-Ikua breathed her last this morning. She was brave and inspiring. We’re all privileged to have known her. Sleep well.”
In a lengthy eulogy, her former colleague at NTV Winnie Mukami wrote: “Janet Kanini-Ikua was a wonderful person always bubbly, effervescent and optimistic even to her dying day. I first met Janet on her travel show on TV. Anyone watching her would ask how can anyone be so energetic and be able to sustain such a broad smile for hours.”
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua wrote: “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the passing of my friend Janet Kanini-Ikua.
“We worked together on several occasions. What a brilliant mind we have lost. She was brave and fought cancer with all her might. She remains a hero in our minds. This beast called cancer must fall. Rest well Janet.”
NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
Citizen TV presenter Janet Mbugua was brief in her Facebook tribute: “You will never be forgotten.”
Media personality Grace Msalame reminisced on the journey that she and the late Mrs Ikua had taken in the broadcast industry.
“What a beautiful human being you were Janet, strong warrior who not only touched my life but the lives of so many people — teaching us to always have a fighting spirit until our last breath,” she stated.
Musician Suzanna Owiyo also recognised the fighter spirit in Mrs Ikua. “Sad you’re gone but you remain a great warrior in our minds! This beast called cancer must fall! I celebrate you Janet Kanini Ikua,” she wrote.
Janet Otieno, a gospel musician, had an equally warm tribute: “Now the angels rejoice as a good soul has finally made its way home!” she posted.
Bishop Allan Kiuna of the Jubilee Christian Church was also generous in his tribute on Mrs Ikua.
“She exemplified incredible grace and strength during her battle with cancer. My heart goes out to her entire family in their hour of grief and I promise to pray for them,” he wrote.
Cancer of the lungs begins in cells, the building blocks that make up all tissues and organs of the body.
Normal cells in the lungs and other parts of the body grow and divide to form new cells as they are needed. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.
Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them, and old or damaged cells don’t die as they should.
The build-up of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumour. Tumours in the lung can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Risk factors for lung cancer include smoking tobacco and being around others who smoke tobacco, exposures at home or at work and family history of lung cancer.
Lung cancer typically doesn’t manifest in signs and symptoms in its earliest stages.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer typically occur only when the disease is advanced.