chapter  8
Cancer Crisis and Treatment Ambiguity in Kenya
ByBENSON A. MULEMI
Pages 21

In her recent ethnography of a cancer ward in Botswana, Julie Livingston (2012) writes that cancer in Africa is an epidemic that will profoundly shape the future of global health. Low-and middle-income nations now bear the majority of the worldwide cancer burden; yet, even though two-thirds of the world’s cancer patients live in developing countries, less than 10% of cancer care resources are available to them (Murray, Grant, Grant & Kendall, 2003, p. 4). This chapter presents a case study of the cancer ward of the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), the largest public referral hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, to illustrate the negotiations and challenges that emerge as people attempt to deal with cancer in a low-resource setting where profound inequities exist in access to care. For many of those diagnosed with the disease, cancer becomes a collective burden shared within families.