Device that detects skin cancer 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mark Baker)
Some 300 health fund clinics around the country will next week be open to the
public for free checks of moles by dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as part
of a campaign to mark Skin Cancer Awareness Week.
Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker,
who works at the National Cancer Registry of the Health Ministry’s National
Center for Disease Control says that while there is an increase in the
prevalence of melanoma in much of the world, it has been quite steady among Jews
except for a small increase in the last year.
Among Arabs, the rates of
morbidity and mortality from skin cancer in the past 10 years have been very
low. Among Jews, the rates are stable in men and have declined in the past
decade among Jewish women by 32 percent.
In 2010, a total of 1,370 new
cases of malignant melanoma – the most dangerous type of skin cancer – were
diagnosed. Early diagnosis – made possible, in part, by the Israel Cancer
Association’s awareness campaigns like that to be held next week – have reduced
the toll from skin tumors. Early diagnosis raises the chances for a complete
recovery dramatically, said Keinan-Boker.
In that year, 207 Israelis died
of malignant melanoma.
Melanoma is mostly likely to be found in
Israeli-born men aged 55 and over. The survival rate in men is 85.8%, while in
women it is 89.7%.
According to data from the Israel Agency for Cancer
Research, this country is 18th in the world in the prevalence of malignant
melanoma, following countries like Australia, the US and countries in
Scandinavia and Western Europe, which have higher rates.
Ministry says that a committee of experts is preparing new standards for
sunscreen creams and lotions to make Israel’s more in keeping with new
international standards. These will include different warnings and instructions
for usage so the public is not mislead, the ministry said.
by Prof. Jeremy Kark and Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University
Hadassah-Braun School of Public Health, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel
Cancer Registry has found that the risk of melanoma is twice as high among those
who immigrated from Europe to Israel before the age of 10 than those who came on
aliya after that age. In addition, the risk of melanoma among immigrants from
African and Asian countries is a quarter of that faced by immigrants from
Europe. The researchers concluded that it was very important to protect
children, especially light-skinned ones, from ongoing exposure to the
Another study found that people who were diagnosed with skin cancers
other than melanoma are at higher risk to develop another kind of cancer.
Ultra-violet radiation has a major role not only in harming the DNA in the skin
cells but also in weakening the person’s immune system. As a result, the body
cannot easily remove defective skin cells that multiply rapidly.
studies showed that taking omega-3 pills (or eating it in oily fish) help
protect against harm to the immune system and the development of skin cancer in
In research at the famed Karolinska Institute in Sweden, it was
discovered for the first time that high levels of the biological marker called
thymine dimer found in urine tests of workers exposed to the sun may indicate
DNA damage caused by solar radiation.
During awareness week, the four
health funds will reduce the prices of sunscreen that they sell in their
pharmacists, and the Israel Cancer Association will run public service ads in
the media, including the Internet.
Make an appointment by calling your
health fund’s central number. For a list of health fund stations, go into
www.cancer.org.il or call 1- 800-599995.