Israel Cancer Association releases figures ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness in October

Exercising and losing weight raise survival rates and quality of life.

September 29, 2015 17:52
3 minute read.
Breast cancer

Breast cancer (illustrative photo). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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A total of 994 Israeli women died of breast cancer in one year, according to the Israel Cancer Association, but it said on Tuesday that while the rate of cases is stable, there has been a gradual increase in survival from the malignancy.

The ICA released statistics in announcing that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Israel and around the world. The last year for which the Health Ministry’s Center for Disease Control had figures was 2012.

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Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker, deputy director of the center, said that in 2012, there were 4,396 new cases of invasive breast cancer, with 571 new patients with the tumor focused in the breast only. There are 21,155 women around the country who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2008 and 2012 who either recovered or are still struggling with the disease. Most of the cases – 79 percent – were diagnosed over the age of 50.

A very small percentage of the tumors were diagnosed in men.

Fourteen percent of the women who died of breast cancer were under the age of 50. Of the new cases of invasive breast cancer, 86 percent (or 3,800) were Jewish, 8% Arabs (367) and the rest of other religions or unidentified. Breast cancer constitutes a third of all invasive malignancies in Israeli women.

Five-year survival rates were 87.2% for Jewish women and 78.4% for their Arab counterparts, but mortality rates were higher in Jews than Arabs and at a later age. The lowest death rates from the cancer was in women aged 30 to 34.

The awareness month will be marked by a variety of events.

The Esti Lauder cosmetics company will cooperate starting October 13 with the Cofix coffee chain of stores and sell its coffee and baked goods in pink cartons printed with the sentence: “Good coffee saves the morning; a simple exam saves lives.” In addition, the chain will see a pair of granola cookies for NIS 5, and the proceeds from sales will go to the ICA for its health-promotion and cancer- fighting activities.

In addition, a seminar on celebrating life will be held on October 26 at Kfar Hamaccabia, with hundreds of breast cancer experts and survivors and their families attending. The ICA is also releasing a new series of informational pamphlets on the malignancy in October that will include advice on coping with the tumor and another one that will explain the disease to the woman’s partner.

The booklets can be obtained by calling the ICA information number at 1-88-599-995.

Early diagnosis of breast cancer significantly reduces the severity and mortality of the disease, said the ICA, whose national mammography program since the 1990s has lowered mortality.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, who studied the effects of overweight and obesity on the malignancy, recently found among women who recovered from breast cancer, and especially those with a family history, overweight was a risk factor for the primary cancer and the cancer returning. A rapid increase of weight in women who are recovering from breast cancer, especially those who received chemotherapy combined with statins, could lead to the development of an intervention program to prevent such weight gain, especially in younger women with a family history who are coping with breast cancer, the researchers found.

Sports medicine expert Prof.

Naama Constantini has developed a program operating at 18 oncology centers in which physiotherapists advise breast cancer patients on exercising to increase their chances of survival and quality of life. Reducing weight and exercising not only increases survival rates but also reduce the risk of contracting breast cancer, Constantini said.

A published German study this year found that yoga and meditation can safely and efficiently reduce menopausal symptoms among women survivors of breast cancer.

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