Patient tested for skin cancer 370.
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
When 1,000 apparently healthy Israelis of a median age of 48 were screened at
Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center for 11 of the most common cancers, 2.4
percent (24) were diagnosed at an early stage with malignancies and treated
successfully, according to an article just published in the European Journal of
The article came out on the advent of World Cancer
Day, which will be marked around the globe on Monday.
Men and women who
follow a healthful lifestyle and feel no unusual pain may be carrying a
malignant tumor that, unless treated early, can spread to other organs in the
body, said the researchers who conducted the screening. The most common cancers
occur in the colon/rectum, lungs, breasts, prostate, testicles, oral cavity,
thyroid gland, skin, uterus, cervix and ovaries.
The healthy individuals
were screened at Sourasky between 2006 and 2010 by the team, which was led by
Dr. Nadir Arber, head of Sourasky’s Center for Cancer Prevention. The research
project aimed at mapping all participant results and determining the group’s
risk factors. Since the end of the study, the 24 participants diagnosed with
cancer have been followed up on in order to ensure that they were indeed cured
at an early stage.
Although most of those screened were men, 10 of the
participants were found to have breast cancer, with seven suffering from cancer
of the digestive system, three from skin cancer and the remainder from prostate
cancer. Surprisingly, although 45% of those screened either smoked previously or
at the time of the screening, no lung cancer was diagnosed.
Over 7% were
found to have precancerous growths, most in the digestive system, with the
remainder in the uterus, cervix, skin and mouth. All tumors were fully removed
at an early stage.
People aged over 50 were at a higher risk of cancer,
as were those who were overweight and/or drank excessive alcohol – but in none
of the cases did a family history of cancer result in malignancies.
good news is that early detection and suitable treatments can prevent the
diseases from breaking out and spreading, and thus life can be saved,” Arber
Sourasky says its center is a “one-stop shop” for the early
detection of malignancies, but the service is not free; it costs NIS 1,450 per
person and is not covered in the basket of health services or supplementary
health insurance – even though early diagnosis can save the health funds much
money, not to mention lives.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has approved
Maccabi Health Fund’s request to offer a new supplementary health insurance
policy called Maccabi Sheli (My Maccabi). It will cost NIS 18.5 a month for
members up to the age of 18, and about NIS 44 monthly for adults.
scheme offers a personal trainer, eyeglasses and contact lenses (once every
three years), preservative dental care in a Maccabident dental fund clinic for
all ages at NIS 20 per treatment, various products and services for pregnant
women, and testing for attention deficit disorder.