Israeli men at highest risk compared to those in 19 other countries to get prostate cancer

Most of the morbidity was in men aged 65 and up, and the average age at diagnosis was 69.6 years.

September 7, 2015 17:23
3 minute read.
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Israeli men, but the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths among them. The death rate from it is in the middle – 11 out of 20 – among 20 Western countries, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Health Ministry’s Center for Disease Control revealed this month.

According to deputy center director Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker, 21 percent of all new malignant tumors – the most common in Jewish men – are prostate cancers. It is also the second most common among Arab men – 13% of all new cases. In 2012, the latest year for which there were exact records, there were 2,484 new cases of invasive prostate cancer, and 417 men died of it.

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There are more than 26,000 Israeli men who have been diagnosed with invasive prostate cancer since 1990.

Most of the morbidity was in men aged 65 and up, and the average age at diagnosis was 69.6 years. But the rate has declined in recent years in Jewish males and was stable among Arab men. In 2012, 2,484 patients with invasive prostate cancer were diagnosed.

Of those, 90% were Jews, 5% Arabs and 5% Christians or without religion determined.

As for mortality, 90% of those who died were Jews, 6.7% Arabs and 3% “others.”

The death rate from prostate cancer is 84 per 100,000 Israeli men, compared to 65 in Spanish men and 129 among those in Norway.


Prevalence rose from the beginning of the 1990s, when the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test became common, although it is not an exact measure of prostate cancer.

Researchers abroad recommended PSA blood tests for men every 10 years. This, they said, would lower the rate of over-diagnosis and allow budgets to be spent on those who really need treatment to lower the mortality figures from the tumor.

A major study in Cancer Prevention Research that was published in June showed that men who smoke, are overweight, have other chronic illnesses, do not exercise and eat junk food were much more likely to die of prostate cancer than others.

Those who ate a lot of processed meat were at higher risk.

At the same time, men who ate a lot of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and fish, didn’t smoke and exercised regularly had a much lower mortality risk from prostate cancer.

For every 20 operations to remove a prostate gland with a tumor, the life of only one will be saved, showing that there is over-diagnosis and surgery, according to studies.

Baltimore researchers looked into the possibility of a connection between a history of testicular cancer and the general risk of getting prostate cancer. They studied the records of more than 10,000 American men with a history of testicular cancer compared to 120,000 who had melanoma – skin cancer that has no known connection with prostate cancer.

Men were included in the study only if they were diagnosed with melanoma or testicular cancer more than five years before and were over 60 when the prostate cancer was diagnosed.

Among those who got prostate cancer up to the age of 80, 12.3% had testicular cancer, compared to a control group, only 2.7% of whom had skin cancer. Thus, the risk among those who had testicular cancer of getting prostate cancer was 4.7 times as high as in the control group, the study found.

The September 9 seminar on prostate cancer will be organized by the Israel Cancer Association and held at its headquarters in Givatayim.

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