Israel has low rate of cervical cancer deaths

76 women died of the disease in a recent year, according the Israel Cancer Association

January 25, 2016 03:28
2 minute read.
Prostate cancer cells

Cancer cells. (photo credit: REUTERS)

More women with cervical cancer are diagnosed here at an earlier stage, and women whose partners have been circumcised are less likely to contact it.

But nevertheless, 76 women died of the disease in a recent year, according the Israel Cancer Association (ICA).

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Israeli women are less likely than the average woman in the OECD to go for Pap smears that are the best way to diagnose the tumor early. The statistics were released to mark Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, which began Sunday.

In 2012, a total of 231 Israeli women were diagnosed with penetrating cervical cancer, while 883 were found to have an earlier stage detected by a Pap smear. In 2012,The early stage of cervical cancer were 2.3 times higher among Jewish women and seven times higher among Arab women compared to the figures in 1990.

In most of the world, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women, after breast and colon cancer, but in Israel – thanks to male circumcision – it is relatively rare, among the rarest in the Western countries, said Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, the deputy director of the Health Ministry’s Center for Disease Control.

The average age of diagnosis of penetrating cervical cancer is 55 in Jewish women and 50 in their Arab counterparts. Cervical cancer is cause by the papilloma virus, thus it is a preventable cancer through the use of condoms and by getting the preventive HPV vaccine given to teenage girls in eighth grade at no cost. But many modern Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox girl schools do not allow the vaccination, saying it is “unnecessary” because they “do not engage in sex until marriage.”

As the HPV protects against the most common strain of papilloma virus but not all, Pap smears are still necessary, the ICA said. It is best for sexually active women to undergo a Pap smear every three years. This test is covered by the basket of health service every three years for women aged 35 to 54.

So that teenage boys and young men do not infect them, eighth-grade males are now also eligible for the shot at no cost.

Most women who get Pap smears from their health fund gynecologists are between the ages of 45 and 54. Five-year survival rates of women with cervical cancer is 71 percent.

This makes Israel among the 10 OECD countries with the highest rates of survival. The average age of death from cervical cancer here is 62 in Jewish women and 50 in Arab women.

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