Prostate cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in Israel. According to Ministry of Health National Cancer Registry 2010 statistics, 2,890 new patients are diagnosed in Israel with prostate cancer, of whom 2,769 are Jewish men and 121 men are from Arab society.
The estimate of the risk of developing prostate cancer in Israel stands at 1 out of every 12 men who may develop the disease.
The main factor that increases the prevalence of the disease is ageing; as an individual's age increases so does the risk of contracting prostate cancer, such that for example, among 40-50 year olds, 36 Israeli men developed the disease this year and among 50-60 year olds, 400 contracted the disease.
Among 60-70 year olds, 950 men developed the disease and among those 70 years old and older, about 1400 men developed the disease.
Other risk factors are family history which establishes that men who have a father affected by the disease are at a twofold increased risk of contracting this type of cancer; similarly, improper diet, obesity, lack of physical exercise, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking may increase the risk of developing the disease.
The ICA operates an advisory forum on prostate cancer on the ICA website, under the direction of Prof. Avishai Sela, a member of the ICA Urology Committee and Head of the Oncology Institute at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zrifin. One may consult with physicians and ask questions at this forum.
Celebrities affected by Prostate Cancer
American actor and two-time Oscar award winner, Robert DeNiro, remembered for his roles in memorable features such as the Godfather II, Raging Bull and Cape Fear, announced in October 2003 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer that had been detected at an early stage thanks to regular screening.
Following in the footsteps of De Niro, other celebrities worldwide have revealed that they have the disease, such as late actor Dennis Hopper, known for films such as Blue Velvet, Apocalypse Now, and Speed, who died at the age of 73 after battling prostate cancer for several years.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, announced in October 2007 that signs of prostate cancer had been detected in his body, and since then has undergone surgery and recovered.
The ICA believes that public exposure of cancer motivates the healthy population to undergo screening and helps patients deal with the disease.
The ICA has also conducted a survey on this subject through the Mutagim Research Institute; this study unveiled that 81% of the public think that media coverage of celebrities affected by the disease is something to be commended and gives cancer patients the strength to cope. About 19% thought that it is inappropriate. This survey was conducted in 2006 among a national sample and represents Israel's adult population.
Campaign and Manned Call Center
As International Prostate Cancer Awareness Day approaches, the ICA conducts a public information campaign through the media channels, aimed at increasing awareness about prostate cancer, entitled "Would you rather die of shame?".
The campaign is aired on the radio stations and appears in the daily and local press through Gitam BBDO advertising agency. The 24 hr. call center is also available to answer any questions that public may have on prevention, early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.