Prostate cancer common in Israelis, but survival up
One of every 9 Jews, one in 17 Arabs at risk of contracting disease, but survival rate over five years is increasing.
Doctors (illustrative) Photo: REUTERS/Swoan Parker
One out of every nine Jewish men and one in 17 Arab men are at risk of
contracting prostate cancer.
Today there are 22,000 identified cases of
the third-most common malignancy in Israeli males – after lung and colorectal
World Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed throughout
September in many Western countries. The official day for awareness is September
15, but since it falls on Shabbat, the Israel Cancer Association held a seminar
this week at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin.
Among those who
were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2005 and 2009, 11,628 either
recovered or are still coping with the disease. In 2009, 2,513 new cases were
diagnosed, of them 2,285 were Jews (91 percent), just 111 Arabs (4%) and 117
The prevalence rate of invasive prostate cancer that spreads
to other parts of the body increased steadily among both Jewish and Arab men
since the 1990s and reached its highest point in 2007 before declining
In 2009, all new patients were 40 years old and above when
diagnosed. It is more prevalent among those from ages 50 to 65, but the most
common age for the disease to be diagnosed is between 70 and 74 in Jews and over
75 in Arabs.
The highest prevalence is seen among Jews of European and
American background (65.7 per 100,000) the lowest among those of Asian
background (56.5 per 100,000).
The accumulated lifetime risk is one out
of 11.3 in Jewish men and one out of 5.9 in Arab men.
Despite this bad
news, the survival rate over five years is increasing. The rate of men with the
disease who live for five years or more after diagnosis was 93.2% between 2002
and 2004, according to the ICA, compared to only 83.6% in 1995 to
In addition, death rates according to age have declined. In 2009,
104 men died of prostate cancer – 103 of them Jews, 18 Arabs and 10
Prostate cancer rates in most of Europe are very high, compared
to Israel, where the prevalence is lower than in Italy, the ICA
Last year, the Health Ministry issued guidelines stating that there
was “no justification” for using prostate-specific antigen tests to screen for
prostate cancer in healthy men. It based its decision on a US government task
force on the matter.
The task force said there is no proof that screening
can result in earlier detection and higher survival rates.
Most men with
prostate cancer die of something else, as it is usually a slowgrowing cancer and
treating it can cause serious side effects such as impotence and incontinence.
However, the ministry said that doctors should discuss possible tests with
specific patients in accordance with their situations.