Israel Cancer Association director-general Miri Ziv 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There is good news about colorectal cancer, which is a major cause of death in
people over the age of 50: Nearly half of those at risk for tumors are now
undergoing screening, resulting in a significant increase in early detection and
lower death rates, the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) said on
The ICA is launching Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in
March, to increase public willingness to undergo simple tests for occult blood
in stool as well as invasive colonoscopy.
But there is negative news as
well: The growing adoption of a more Western lifestyle by Israeli Arabs has
raised their prevalence of colorectal cancer, to higher rates close to those of
ICA director-general Miri Ziv said that with 48 percent of
the target audience going for screening, Israel’s early diagnosis rate for
colorectal cancer is similar to the average rate of other Western countries. In
addition, survival rates in Israel are even higher than the average among
countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) –
thanks to a near-doubling of the rate of early diagnosis in the past
During the past decade, the prevalence of this cancer in the
Jewish population has stabilized. The highest rate is among Jewish men –
26.6 cases per 100,000 – while the lowest rate is among Arab women
Due to their adoption of urban Western diets, the rate of
colorectal cancer has quadrupled (to more than 24 cases per 100,000) in Arab men
since 1990 and more than tripled (to more than 19 cases per 100,000) among Arab
Death rates have in the last decade dropped by 28% in the general
male population and by 1% in women.
According to Prof. Gad Rennert,
director of the ICA’s National Program for Early Colorectal Cancer Detection,
over 422,000 tests for occult blood in stool were performed by the health funds
Colorectal cancer is prevented by the removal of pre-cancerous
polyps in the bowel, done via colonoscopy. Ziv recommended that the public adopt
positive lifestyle behaviors to guard against the disease, such as a healthy
diet and regular exercise.
The ICA will hold seminars and sponsor other
activities in March to promote public awareness of the disease.
5 from 2-3 p.m., experts from Hadassah University Medical Center and Meir
Medical Center will answer phone queries from the public on Army
On March 14, a seminar on colorectal cancer will be held at ICA
headquarters in Givatayim. It is open to the general public.
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