(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Thanks to earlier detection, prevention efforts and improved treatments, the
mortality rate from cancer has dropped in Israeli men from 189.2 per 100,000
residents and 151.9 among women in 1995 to 164.1 in men and 126.8 in women
respectively in 2006.
In addition, 380 new cases are annually diagnosed
among children; five out of six now live for at least five years and are
regarded as having recovered.
This encouraging news was released at the
Israel Cancer Association’s annual press conference marking its Knock on the
Door annual fundraising campaign, which will be held on Monday, October 11 for
the 50th time.
School pupils and other volunteers will go from home to
home to raise money for the organization, which receives no governmental
subsidy, said ICA chairman Prof. Eliezer Robinson and Efi Rosenhaus, president
and CEO of Supersol, who will chair this year’s campaign. Donations can also be
made by calling 1-800-35-46-46 or sending an SMS to number 1222 with the number
10 (representing NIS 10).
The funds are raised for research, information,
purchasing diagnostic and treatment equipment, funding the work of nurses and
social workers in oncology departments and helping child patients to do their
schoolwork. Mobile clinics dispatched to the periphery by the ICA are raising
the mammography rates among Arab and haredi women, who still have the lowest
screening rates for breast cancer.
President Shimon Peres discussed on
Sunday the toll taken by cancer and urged the public to contribute what they
could afford to the ICA’s campaign against it.
Robinson noted that 65
percent of all deaths from cancer can be avoided altogether if people don’t
smoke, avoid exposure to the sun’s dangerous rays, follow a nutritious diet,
maintain normal weight and exercise regularly. Undergoing screening for breast,
colon and other cancers can save even more.
ICA director-general Miri Ziv
added that each year, her organization invests some NIS 7 million to fund
research by Israeli scientists and doctors who seek treatments and cures for
cancer. Today, the gap between discoveries in the lab and applications at the
bedside has greatly been reduced, she added. A new survey conducted by Market
Watch for the ICA found that 60% of Israelis are more fearful of cancer than of
heart disease or diabetes.
Most of the public know that smoking causes
(lung) cancer, followed by exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun (melanoma
and other skin cancers). Participants over 30 who were surveyed knew more about
the risks of obesity and drinking alcohol than their younger
The phone survey of a representative sample of 500 adults
also found that a third knew of someone at their workplace who had cancer and
over half had a close relative struck by the disease. Eighty-five percent said
that if they were diagnosed, they would prefer to receive all details from their
doctor, while only 5% said they would prefer not to be told
Women over the age of 50 (or younger if they are at high risk)
are more likely to undergo mammography screening for breast cancer. Last year,
72% of relevant women had a mammogram within the previous two years, said Prof.
Gad Rennert, director of the National Cancer Registry’s mammography
He added that biphosphonates, which are prescribed to women (and
men) who suffer from osteoporosis, has shown signs in research of preventing
metastasis (spread) of cancer in the bones of women treated for breast cancer.
The effects were seen after even just one year of taking the medication. As a
result, more research is being conducted to determine whether these commonly
used drugs have the ability to prevent breast cancer in women in general. Other
factors may be involved in reducing the risk, Rennert said that the biological
mechanism behind this phenomenon must be discovered before biphosphonates are
routinely prescribed for prevention.
Prof. Miri Cohen, Dr. Hadas Goldblat
and Dr. Faisal Aziaza from the University of Haifa together with other
colleagues presented the first-ever study on how Muslim and Christian Arab women
cope with breast cancer. The patients were interviewed in person a year after
they completed chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
The women answered
questions about disclosing their disease to relatives, cancer’s effects on their
relationships with husbands and religious and cultural
Another study found that liver cancer and chronic liver
diseases are much more common among people who ate a lot of red meat and drank a
lot of alcohol. Eating fish, turkey and chicken reduced these risks
significantly, it was found.