Fatalities from heart and vascular diseases in Israel have dropped by 80 percent since the middle of the 1970s – because of better surgical treatment and medications as well as improved lifestyles.

The Central Bureau of Statistics, in a report on causes of death in 2010 released on Wednesday, said that cancer was once again the leading cause of death, followed by cardiovascular diseases. This trend began here in 1999.

In addition, Israeli mortality rates from cancer, atherosclerosis and stroke were relatively low compared to the other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Lung cancer is the most common malignant tumor in men but at a lower rate compared to men in other OECD countries, while death rates among Israeli women from breast cancer are higher relative to these countries.

Mortality from complications of infectious diseases, diabetes and kidney diseases are much higher in Israel compared to other Western countries, the report continued.

In 2010, 39,418 people died in Israel; these constituted 0.5 percent of the population.

Slightly more women (50.2%) died than men (49.8%). Almost 80% of those who passed away were over the age of 65 and of those, 64% were over 75 and 34% over 85. Seven percent of those who died were younger than 45, and 1.6% (or 616) were infants before their first birthday.

Forty-three percent of Israelis die either of cancer or heart disease, the report said. Malignant tumors cause almost a quarter of all deaths here. The second most common cancer to cause death was colorectal.

Complications of diabetes were the third-biggest killer of women and the fourth in men.

Arabs are less likely to die of cancer (20.5% ) than Jews (26.8%).

Accidents, suicide and murder were the third most common cause of death of men and eighth most common cause in women. But accidents, suicide and murder were more than twice as often the cause of death in Arabs than in Jews, followed by complications of diabetes.

Infant mortality has declined from 24.2 per 1,000 live births to only 3.7 today.

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