Israel Cancer Association announces 2015 Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Awareness Week Kick-off scheduled to take place from May 11-17, 2015
In an international comparison*, Israel no longer tops the list of countries with the highest melanoma incidence and mortality rates:
Morbidity: (incidence) Israeli males ranked 13th highest and Israeli females ranked 20th highest.
Mortality: Israeli males ranked 8th highest and Israeli females 10th highest. * International comparison among 20 countries with the highest invasive melanoma incidence and mortality in the world.
New Zealand and Australia still top the list.
As part of Skin Cancer Awareness Week initiated by the ICA, hundreds of examination clinics will open at healthcare funds throughout the country from May 11-17, to perform free screening tests.
Please click here for the list of skin screening stations
Dr. Lital Keinan-Boker, Deputy Director of the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC) of the Ministry of Health, presented up-to-date National Cancer Registry statistics:
In 2012, 1,293 new patients were diagnosed with malignant melanoma (940 new patients with invasive malignant melanoma, and 353 patients with melanoma in-situ).
Since the mid-2000s, there has been a slight downward trend in invasive melanoma morbidity in both sexes. (In 2011, an age-standardized rate of 12.9 per 100,000 Jewish males was reported, compared to 12.1 in 2012, and in women 10.4 in 2011, compared to 9.6 in 2012).
In melanoma in situ in Israel, there has been an increase over the years, which indicates higher awareness of the disease and an increase in early detection rates, mainly thanks to ICA's public information activity spanning more than two decades. There has been a decline in this trend over the past two years.
The highest melanoma morbidity rates in 2012 were observed among European- and American-born individuals as well as Israeli-born individuals.
5-year relative survival rates are on the rise. Among men, the rate increased from 85.8% in 2011, to 88.3% in 2012, and among women, from 89.7% in 2011, to 92.5% in 2012.
In 2012, 230 individuals succumbed to malignant melanoma in Israel. The mortality rates have shown a trend towards stabilization since the early 2000s.
Among the Arab population in Israel, melanoma incidence and mortality rates are very low. In 2012, 21 Arab patients were diagnosed with invasive melanoma, and two patients with melanoma in situ.
Please click here to read the complete report.
New ICA Initiatives and Activities to Increase Awareness of the Risks of Sun Exposure and the Importance of Protecting Oneself from the Sun's Harmful Rays
As we approach the summer and the sunbathing season, the ICA has embarked on a unique public information campaign, oriented to place and time, called "Don't Expose Yourself to the Dark Side of the Sun".
This public information strategy appears in the form of a message on beach goers' mobile phone screens between 10am and 4pm, the hours when the sun's rays are strongest and it is advisable to stay indoors. The following is the wording of the message: "If you've seen this ad - it's a sign that you've been exposed to the dark side of the sun, don't go to the beach between 10am and 4pm."
This public information strategy will be distributed to beach goers at all beaches across Israel, on weekends.
New ICA public information announcements will be aired during the summer months. These ads convey 'sunsmart' behavior messages in a different, refreshing and humoristic way, through 'French tourists' who are known for their love of the sun. These infomercials are courtesy of Gitam BBDO.
A new ICA ad called "New! Cancer in a Box!" warns against the dangers of using tanning booths, which are no less harmful than direct sun exposure. This ad was produced courtesy of Gitam BBDO.
A new pamphlet called 'How to be Sunsmart' was published by the ICA and is currently being distributed to schools, healthcare fund clinics, examination clinics participating in Skin Cancer Awareness Week, and the general population. This new pamphlet is user-friendly, contains important messages regarding how to stay safe in the sun, and features colorful photos.
Please click here to read the "How to be Sunsmart" pamphlet.
A melanoma and BCC - basal cell carcinoma - seminar is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 30, at the ICA Headquarters in Givatayim. The seminar is geared towards patients, survivors and their families; admission is free.
The seminar is being held courtesy of Roche Pharmaceuticals Israel Ltd.
Significant achievements and further progress have been recorded recently in immunotherapy. This form of treatment for melanoma increases the patient's immune response against cancer cells. Similarly, there has been evidence for treatment effectiveness when used in combination with other medications.
The ICA Information Center provides detailed information on this subject, and further information will also be available at the seminar. For more information please contact the 'Telemeida' teleinformation hotline at: 1-800-599-995.
Super Pharm, and its private-label brand Life, have also contributed to this unique initiative to assist the ICA in promoting the fight against skin cancer. Super Pharm will donate one shekel from the sales of all LIFE sun screen products. The funds that Super Pharm will raise will be dedicated to ICA's extensive skin cancer public education activities and promotion of prevention and early detection.
Public information pamphlets produced courtesy of Super Pharm will also be distributed at Super Pharm outlets; these pamphlets were prepared by the ICA in collaboration with the Pharmacy Division at the Ministry of Health and experts in the field, and provide guidance to the public for the proper use of sun protection products.
The Israel Cancer Association explains: Who is at a higher risk of harm from sun exposure?
Individuals with fair skin, light-colored hair and eyes, as well as freckles.
Individuals who burn easily, or do not tan at all.
Individuals who have a large number of beauty marks (over 20).
Babies and children. It is advised to avoid exposing babies up to the age of 6 months to the sun.
Individuals who, due to their profession or hobbies, are out in the sun for long periods, such as sailors and farmers.
Scuba divers, surfers, swimmers and those who participate in other water sports, are exposed to the sun, as their skin is wet and absorbs UV radiation reflected off the water.
Individuals who consume medications that increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight (when medicinal treatment is administered - please consult with your attending physician).
Individuals who have undergone organ transplantation, and regularly receive immune-suppressant medication.
Individuals who have relatives who contracted skin cancer.
Uncontrolled sun exposure is harmful for everyone, even dark-skinned individuals!
The ICA Information Center Presents a Comprehensive Survey Based on 280 Research Studies
How do lifestyle and socio-economic factors influence melanoma morbidity and mortality?
Researchers from Loyola University Chicago and the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, U.S., sought to examine the link between socio-economic status and lifestyle on the one hand, and malignant melanoma morbidity and mortality on the other. The researchers conducted a methodical survey of 280 research studies from Europe, Asia, the United States and South America, which reviewed the correlation between various risk factors and melanoma morbidity and mortality.
The researchers indicate that in most of the research studies that were reviewed, a significant link was observed between socio-economic status and melanoma incidence, and how the disease developed: many more cases of melanoma were observed among populations of high socio-economic status, particularly, among individuals with a higher/academic education, whereas populations of low socio-economic status were characterized by a lower number of cases, however they were diagnosed at a later stage, and consequently, their mortality rates were higher.
A possible explanation for these findings is the lifestyle of individuals from a high socio-economic background, which frequently brings them into situations associated with melanoma risk, such as exposure to sun during vacation, tanning in sun booths, etc. Conversely, individuals from a low socio-economic background are prone to be less aware of the disease and its symptoms, and the possibilities for early detection, consequently the diagnosis of the disease is likely to be at a more advanced stage, which may in turn lead to higher mortality.
The researchers specified several risk factors:
Leisure-time sunlight exposure - research studies indicated the link between sun exposure during leisure time, such as vacations, spending time at the beach, etc., and time spent in the sun during childhood on the one hand, and an increased risk to contract melanoma on the other. The researchers indicate that in these research studies, they observed the link between the drop in airfares in the U.S. for vacation destinations, and the increase in malignant melanoma morbidity.
Use of tanning booths - various studies indicate that the use of tanning booths, which is typical of populations from a high socio-economic stratum, increases the risk of melanoma. Moreover, the research studies showed that the younger the age at which the use of tanning booths begins, and the longer it continues, the higher the risk of developing melanoma.
Occupational exposure - some of the research studies indicated a significant link between the occupations in the fields of aviation, electric industry, oil drilling, leather tanning, and the nuclear industry, on the one end, and melanoma mortality on the other. Since there is no common factor of being exposed to UV radiation in these professions, the researchers assume that due to the fact that the individuals employed in these fields belong to a population with a lower level of education, it is likely that the increased mortality among this population is associated with a later detection of the disease due to the lack of awareness of early symptoms. The researchers reviewed additional studies that showed a significant link between the fields of occupation which involve UV radiation exposure and an increased risk of melanoma morbidity.
Obesity - research studies in this field indicate a direct link between melanoma incidence and mortality on the one hand and a high BMI on the other. Research studies from Italy and Korea, for instance, indicated a double risk to develop melanoma among individuals with a high BMI as opposed to individuals with a normal BMI.
Familial status - research studies have shown that among marrieds, the rate of detection of melanoma is at an earlier stage, and therefore, survival rates are higher. The researchers assume that having a partner who can discern the disease symptoms on the skin, constitutes an encouraging factor to go get oneself tested and consequently survive the disease.
In short, the researchers claim that a better understanding of the relationship between socio-economic factors and the development of melanoma may help educate and inform the various populations about reducing the risk of contracting the disease and may also increase survival rates due to the resultant early detection.
The research study was published in the October 2014 issue of the British Journal of Dermatology