Rates of cancer in periphery higher than average

Israel Cancer Association says half of cases can be avoided.

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February 1, 2017 18:58
2 minute read.
Prostate cancer cells

Cancer cells. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The death rates of cancer patients living in the geographical and social periphery are 8% higher than those living in the center of the country and those not in poverty, according to the Israel Cancer Association, which will mark World Cancer Day this week.

The annual event, which falls on Saturday this year, is organized by the Union for International Cancer Control, with 950 organizations in more than 150 countries, including Israel.

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Director-general Miri Ziv and Prof. Lital Keinan Boker, deputy head of the Health Ministry’s Center for Diseases Control, said on Wednesday that a total of 29,500 cancer patients were diagnosed, and around 11,000 died of malignant tumors in 2014.

The good news is that there has been a significant, 25% drop in Israeli deaths from cancer in the last two decades.

Israel is 18th among 34 OECD nations in cancer case rates, but just 28th from the top in death rates. In another 20 years, it is expected that three out of four cancer patients will recover, according to Israel Cancer Association president Prof.

Eliezer Robinson.

Ziv said that from what is known already today, half of all cancer cases and deaths can be prevented, by not smoking or being around smokers, not drinking alcohol excessively, by eating healthful diets, by maintaining a normal body weight, by avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, by exercising regularly and by getting diagnosed and treated early.

According to the World Health Organization, 14.1 million people were diagnosed in 2012 with cancer, and 8.2 million died. If this trend continues, the number of patients will rise to 21.6 million in 2030. The cost of treating cancer patients around the globe totals $1.16 trillion yearly.

Also in that year, 243.6 Jewish men out of 100,000 were diagnosed with cancer, compared to 195.7 Arab men in Israel. For women, 257.9 were diagnosed per 100,000 among Jews and 167.6 among Arabs.

Of the 10,931 Israelis who died of cancer three years ago, 5,511 were men and the rest women.

The most common types of cancer among men are prostate, colon and lungs, and among women breast, colon and lung malignancies. The deadliest in men are, in order, lung, color, prostate and pancreatic and in women breast, colon, lung and pancreatic.

The critical years that brought about a drop in cancer rates were 2004 to 2006, especially in Jews. But since 1994, cancer rates among Arab men have remained stable, apparently due to their high (over 40%) smoking rate. But deaths from a variety of cancers among Arab women are declining.

In the periphery, the risk of colon cancer was 17% higher in men and 12% higher in women, compared to residents of the center, where the risk of the disease was 8% less in men and 7% less in women.

This means that those living in cities in the center and being of higher socioeconomic status were more likely to be aware of cancer risks and of the importance of health screenings.

Ziv said that the Israel Cancer Association’s activities for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation have significantly reduced the death rate from cancer.

A Union for International Cancer Control congress in November endorsed much higher taxation on tobacco products. More than a fifth of all cancer deaths result from smoking tobacco, Ziv said. She also encouraged sports activities and individual exercise to reduce the risk of tumors.


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