Breast cancer awareness .
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
Although the mortality rate from breast cancer has dropped over the last decade
from an average of 22.6 to 17.4 per 100,000 people, almost 1,000 Israeli women
(and a handful of men) die of it each year.
The diagnosis rate from
breast cancer constitutes the highest in the world – 17 percent of all malignant
tumors – among Israeli women, according to the Israel Cancer Association. Every
year, some 4,000 new cases are diagnosed.
To help encourage mammograms
every two years among women 50 and over (and earlier in women at high risk due
to a personal or family history), the ICA is marking Breast Cancer Awareness
Month in October and a special day on Monday, October 31.
percent of cases are diagnosed in women younger than 50, while 6% are found
under the age of 40. The ICA holds assemblies every year for younger women who
are at risk and organizes support groups both for them and older women. Although
an organization to raise awareness about breast cancer was named “One in Nine,”
the current risk of breast cancer during women’s lifetime has reached one in
While the rate of diagnosis with breast cancer is high (96.8 per
100,000) and topped only by Holland, France and Denmark in Europe, the mortality
rate here from breast cancer is relatively low and below that in Germany,
Finland, Spain, Sweden and Luxembourg.
This is partly due to more
willingness to undergo mammography scans and early detection, the ICA
Much effort is being aimed at reaching sectors of women who are
reluctant to undergo mammograms including haredim and Arab women, where the
death rates are higher due to later detection. Early detection can lead to
survival rates of around 90%, the ICA adds.
Although breast cancer cannot
be prevented completely by healthy lifestyles – unlike lung cancer, which can
almost totally be wiped out if tobacco use ends – there are steps one can take
to lower the risk.
These include ensuring that one’s body weight is in
the normal range and performing regular physical activity. Not drinking
excessive amounts (over three portions daily) of alcohol significantly reduces
Having children at a relatively- young age and breastfeeding
them also cuts the risk of breast cancer. Women who have used contraceptive
pills for 10 years or more have a 15% to 20% higher risk of contracting breast
cancer than women who did not.
The One in Nine organization is
distributing via Facebook a special application in which women can virtually
paint their profiles with pink to symbolize the fight against breast
GE Healthcare has launched a world campaign encompassing 25
countries, including Israel, for increasing awareness of the
Thousands of its workers, dressed in pink, will create a human
chain to mark the month.