Cancer among Israeli men on the decline says report

According to a report from the Israel Cancer Association yesterday (3rd February 2019), there has been a significant fall in the number of Israeli men getting cancers over that last decade.

The decline has been seen since 2007 for Jewish men and since 2005 among Arab men, the report says. Jewish women on the other hand have similar and unaltered cancer incidence level, the report says and among Arab women, there has been an increase in incidence of cancer between 1990 and 2016.

The report adds that in 2016, there have been 30,569 new cases of cancer what were diagnosed in Israel. Of these 10,566 were men (47 percent) and 14,380 were women (53 percent). By end of 2015, there were 90,661 people in Israel living with cancer who were diagnosed between 2012 and 2015 (39,971 men and 50,690 women, respectively).

In 2016 there have been 11,077 deaths due to cancer. Some of the common cancers that kill Israelis are lung, colon and rectal cancers, pancreatic, prostate and bladder cancers. Commonly diagnosed cancers among those aged 44 years or younger are breast cancers among women, Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphomas, melanoma, sarcoma, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia and brain and central nervous system tumours.

According gender the cancer incidence was as follows –

  • Among Israeli Jewish men, common cancers were prostate (17 percent), lung (12.4 percent), colon (12 percent), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (6.22 percent), urinary bladder (5.5 percent) and melanoma (5.2 percent).
  • Among Arab men common cancers were lung (21.7 percent), colon (13.2 percent), prostate (9.1 percent), urinary bladder (5.1 percent) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (5 percent).
  • Among Jewish women common cancers were, breast (33.1 percent), colon (10.2 percent), lung (7 percent), uterus (5.4 percent) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (5.3 percent).
  • Among Israeli Arab women common cancers were breast (34.5 percent), colon (9.1 percent), glands (7.7 percent), uterus (5.7 percent) and non Hodgkin lymphoma (5.1 percent).

Deaths due to cancer have declined for Jewish men (263.5 per 100,000 people in 1990 compared to 236.8 cases per 100,000 in 2016). The rates among Jewish women were 280.9 deaths per 100,000 people from cancer in 1990 to 256.4 per 100,000 people in 2016.

Miri Ziv, the director general of the Israel Cancer Association, in a statement said, “Israel is in 90th place in the world in cancer mortality, even though it has relatively high morbidity, ranking 50th in the world, because of the high public awareness that the association has instilled as to the importance of prevention and early detection, and also due to the dramatic improvements in treatment and therapies.” Today (4th of February) being World Cancer Day, the report marks the day, says the Association.

Prof. Lital Keinan Boker, deputy director of the Israel Center for Disease Control in the Health Ministry added that commonest association with cancer is advancing age. She explained that most cancers are diagnosed in older adults compared to younger people or children. She added, “The causes of cancer in younger people are in most cases unknown. We’re talking about a disease that’s caused by a series of mutations in the cellular genetic material, which leads to uncontrolled cell division. While in adults these mutations develop over one’s life, younger people are more likely to have congenital mutations.” She explained, “In addition, exposure to known risk factors contributes to the incidence of cancer in younger people, like ionizing radiation from the sun or tanning beds, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic radiation, or infectious agents like the papilloma virus (HPV) or the AIDS virus, obesity and smoking.”

For preparing this report, Keinan Boker and Dr. Barbara Silverman, the director of the Israel National Cancer Registry in the Health Ministry, collaborated and looked at the cancer scenario in Israel between 1990 and 2015. They looked at invasive tumours between ages of 0 to 44 years. They noted that among people of this age group, rates of cancers rose among the adults (ages 20 to 44 years). This could be due to rise in the populations of this age group, they explain. Cancer risk in this age group however has risen for women, they explain.

The experts and health organizations have all emphasized upon adopting a healthy lifestyle and reduce the exposure to cancer-causing risks such as smoking, alcohol, excessive sun exposure and obesity. The Cancer Association said that as per the data from the Union for International Cancer Control, over one third of all cancers could be preventable and one third of the cancers could be treated and cured if detected early. The UICC adds that around 9.6 million people die of cancer globally in a year and cost of treating cancer is around $1.66 trillion dollars annually.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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