Early detection, no smoking and exercise reduce risk of breast cancer

The trend overall for breast cancer incidence among Jewish women remained stable between 1980 and 1986, followed by a significant increase at a variable rate between 1991 and 2014.

September 26, 2017 18:06
2 minute read.
Breast cancer

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


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There are 21,671 Israeli women who were diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 with breast cancer who have recovered or are still fighting the disease. Of these, 4,412 were newly diagnosed in the past year: 3,782 Jews (86%), 398 Arabs (9%), and 232 others (5%).

The Israel Cancer Association, which will mark World Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, noted on Tuesday that the rate of using mammography here for early detection of breast cancer is higher than the world average, largely thanks to more mammography screening.

In addition, said ICA director-general Miri Ziv, the recovery rates are as high as 90% in women who are diagnosed early. “I call upon women to take responsibility for their health, adopt a healthy lifestyle that significantly reduces the risk of getting sick, be tested according to the guidelines at the appropriate age and to know their bodies and their normal condition.”

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and in 2014 it accounted for about a third of all invasive cancers in women,” said Prof. Lital Keinan Boker, deputy director of the Health Ministry’s Center for Disease Control.

Most women are diagnosed when they are over the age of 50. The highest risk is observed in women in the older age groups and is higher in Jewish than in Arab women.

For invasive breast cancer, the trend in the incidence among Jews remained stable between 1980 and 1985, followed by a significant rise between 1985 and 1990. From 1990 to 2014, the trend stabilized again. Among Arabs, there was a significant increase in incidence throughout the period, though at a variable rate.

The trend overall for breast cancer incidence among Jewish women remained stable between 1980 and 1986, followed by a significant increase at a variable rate between 1991 and 2014. In Arab countries, the trend has been examined only since 1990 and was found to be stable until 2014. The relative five-year survival rate among Israeli women diagnosed from 2005 to 2009 was among the highest in the OECD countries: 89.7% among Jews and 84.4% among Arab women.

Invasive breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death among women, accounting for about one-sixth of all cancer deaths in Jewish women and about one-fifth of all cancer deaths among Arab women. In 2014, about 1,000 women died in Israel from the disease (888 Jews and 95 Arab women). The incidence, mortality, and survival rates of breast cancer are higher than average in Israel compared to the OECD countries.

About one-quarter of breast cancer cases involve women who do not exercise and are overweight or obese.

Mammography is recommended every two years for women from ages 50 through 74 and from age 40 for high-risk women with a family, genetic or personal history. High-risk women who are carriers of the BRCA or “Breast Cancer gene” should seek genetic counseling.

A new study from San Francisco has found that smoking before or after a breast cancer diagnosis shortens lives compared to those who do not light up.

In rare cases, about 1% of all diagnoses, men contract breast cancer, totaling about 50 cases a year. Men are at higher risk for the disease if a number of women in the family contracted colorectal or ovarian cancer.

The ICA will hold a number of events in October to raise awareness of the disease. For more information, see its website at www.cancer.org.il.

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