Marking World Cancer Day 2020

04/02/2020 16:16:11

World Cancer Day - 04/02/2020

20 Years to World Cancer Day

The Israel Cancer Association

And the Ministry of Health reveal New Statistics

Significant decrease in incidence rates (new cases) in Jewish men, Jewish women and Arab men

A significant decrease in mortality in all population sectors in Israel

The highest incidence rate of breast cancer in Israel (approximately a third of all cancer incidences in women) is among women of high socioeconomic cluster

Israel is ranked last in the list of 50 countries with the highest incidence rate in the world


Israel is ranked 92 in cancer mortality rate despite the relatively high incidence

New Research: Overtreatment for Thyroid Cancer Patients

Ahead of World Cancer Day, marked annually by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on February 4th around the world, the Israel Cancer Association and the Ministry of Health reveal the latest statistics on cancer.

Statistics show that 30,000 new cancer patients are diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Jewish men, while lung cancer is most prevalent in Arab men (the smoking rate among Arab men is significantly higher). Breast cancer was most prevalent in women.

Statistics further show that cancer incidence rates in Israel are higher than the average worldwide, and that Israel is among the 50 countries with the highest incidence rates in the world, but is ranked last (50) on that list. By international comparison, Israel is ranked 92 in cancer mortality rate despite the relatively high incidence. In addition, a significant decrease was shown in cancer mortality rates across all population and gender groups between 1996-2017.

According to Miri Ziv, the ICA Vice Chairman: “World Cancer Day is an opportunity to remind us of what each and every one of us can do in order to reduce cancer mortality and morbidity. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes physical exercise, avoiding smoking and obesity, as well as partaking in the recommended early detection tests that have been proven effective and taking the recommended vaccinations – are all efficient, proven ways of reducing cancer mortality and morbidity by about 50%.

Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, Director of the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC) of the Ministry of Health, explained: the main cancer types, responsible for more than 50% of the total mortality in Israeli men, were similar in Jews, Arabs and ‘others’ and included prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and bladder cancer. Similarity in common cancer types was also seen among women. In those three population groups, breast tumors constituted a third of the total tumors, and colorectal tumors constituted 10-14% of all tumors. Lung cancer, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and uterine cancer are also among the common tumors in women.

Following are the most updated statistics:

The National Cancer Registry data (refers to 2017) is actual data based on the entire population. In the U.S., however, a forecast is published based on a sample representing about 34% of the incidence rates in the U.S., as was sampled in 2016, and the morbidity rates in 2017.

  • The number of new cancer patients in Israel:

In 2017, 30,000 Israelis were diagnosed with cancer.

  • The most prevalent cancer types in Israel:

In men, the most prevalent diagnosis was prostate cancer (Jews and ‘others’) and lung cancer (Arab). The most prevalent diagnosis in women was breast cancer (Jews, Arabs and “others”).

  • The number of new cases diagnosed annually – the age-standardized incidence rate (risk of cancer):

In term of the age-standardized incidence rate, the group with the highest rate is ‘other’ men (330.1 per 100,000) and the group with the lowest rate is Arab women (173.4 per 100,000). In Jews, the rate was higher in woman than in men; in Arab and ‘others’, the rate was higher in men than in women.

  • Cancer incidence rates in Israel by international comparison (according to Globocan 2018):

Cancer incidence rates in Israel are higher than the international average, yet Israel is ranked last (50) among the 50 countries with the highest incidence rates in the world.

  • Trends in invasive cancer incidence:

Men showed a significant statistical decrease in cancer incidence: Jews since 2007; Arab since 2006; and ‘others'; since 1996. The trend in women is mixed: In Jews, the trend was stable until 2015, followed by a significant decrease; in Arabs, a moderate decrease was seen throughout the time period of 1996-2017; in ‘other’ women, a significant decrease trend is seen in recent years. In the equivalent period in the U.S., a decrease trend was seen in cancer incidence in men (similar to Israel) and stability among women (in Israel the trend is mixed).

  • Cancer survivors in the population:

At the end of 2017, about 91,000 citizens living in Israel had been diagnosed with cancer between 2013-2017, and had either recovered or were still coping with it.

  • Cancer Morbidity in Israel:

In 2017, about 11,000 died of cancer in Israel. The common cancer death cause among men was lung cancer (Jews, Arabs, ‘others’) and breast cancer in women (Jews, Arabs, ‘others’).

This segmentation is similar to the 2020 forecast segmentation in the U.S. regarding men, but not regarding women (in American women, the most common cancer death cause is lung cancer). As for cancer morbidity rates, in men of all three population groups, mortality rates are higher in comparison to women. By international comparison (according to Globocan 2018), Israel was ranked 92 in cancer mortality rates, despite the relatively high incidence.

With regards to cancer mortality trends, a significant decrease was seen in all population groups, including Arab men, between 1996-2017. In the U.S. too, a decrease in cancer mortality was seen in men and women.

The Link between Cancer Incidence and Socioeconomic Level

Ahead of World Cancer Day 2020, the National Cancer Registry and the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC) conducted a study aimed at assessing the risk of developing cancer in different socioeconomic levels in Israel between 2014-2016, while using the socioeconomic cluster of the National Bureau of Statistics.

The link between socioeconomic status and health outcome has been known for many years. This link seems to reflect a gap in knowledge, opinions and healthy behavior, as well as a difference in relevant exposure and accessibility to health services. These variables have been proven as influential on different health indices and can explain to a certain degree, the disparities in the health condition between individuals classified according to different socioeconomic levels.


The summary of the research findings are as follows:

  • For all cancer types in men and women alike – the lowest risk of developing cancer was seen in clusters classified in the lowest level. The highest risk was seen in clusters classified in the medium-high level (men), or in the medium-high and high level (women).

  • Colon cancer and lung cancer was the lowest in men classified in the highest cluster.

  • Two types of cancer showed a direct link between the socioeconomic cluster and the risk for cancer – breast cancer in women and thyroid cancer in both genders.

    Overtreatment for Thyroid Cancer Patients

    A study published in the June 2019 issue of Surgical Oncology (reported on December 20th 2019 in ONCOLOGY TIMES) found that nearly 25% of low-risk papillary thyroid cancer patients receive unnecessary radioactive treatment, despite the treatment guidelines published by the American Thyroid Association (ATA) in 2015. Treatment with local radioactivity, aimed at Thyroid cells, using radioactive iodine (RAI) post-surgery, is a standard procedure in treating thyroid cancer. However, according to the ATA guidelines, it should be given to low-risk PTC patients – when the tumor scope is up to 2cm and is limited to the thyroid only, without affecting the lymph nodes and with no metastases.

    Of 32,229 thyroid cancer cases located by the researchers from an American database on cancer statistics, 17,286 (53.6%) were defined as low-risk. Low-risk patients, compared to others, were older, more often female, and more often white. Nearly 25% of low-risk patients received RAI contrary to guidelines.

    The researchers estimate that the tendency is to give the younger patients a more aggressive treatment, even if it is not indicated under ATA guidelines. It was also found that some of the low-risk patients underwent unnecessary thyroidectomy and later on RAI.

    In summation, the head researcher Alliric Willis said: “Just like any patients may be at risk for undertreatment, so a patient can be at risk for overtreatment. It is important to treat the patient according to the guidelines medical characteristics they have been diagnosed with, in order to prevent overtreatment and the immediate as well as subsequent side effects that may arise from it.”   

    Click here for the full article.

    Green Tea May Reduce the Risk of Developing Blood and Lymphatic Cancer

    A Japanese research examined the link between Green Tea consumption and the development of blood and lymphatic cancer (hematologic neoplasms).

    It is a known fact that the rate of hematologic neoplasms is higher among white patients compared to Asian. The researchers assumed that this fact may be explained, at least partially, due to differences in the habit of Green Tea consumption. For that purpose, 52,462 individuals living in 24 communities with information on incident hematologic neoplasms available in the cancer registry, who did not have a history of cancer and provided valid information on frequency of green tea consumption, were followed through 2009. Among the participants, 323 cases of hematologic neoplasms were detected during a median follow-up of 13.3 years (219 cases of lymphatic cancer and 95 cases of blood cancer).

    The data weighting shows that frequency of Green Tea consumption was related to a decrease in the risk of developing hematologic neoplasms: A daily consumption of 2 or more cups reduced the risk by 35%; and a high consumption (5 or more cups) by 37%. Any consumption of green tea (from 1 or more cups per month and up to 5 or more per day) was related to a 34% decrease in the risk.  The decrease in risk was mainly seen in AML (acute myeloid leukemia) type blood cancer: A decrease of 65% (in drinking 2 or more cups per day), 73% (3-4 cups) and 63% (5 or more cups).

    The researchers believe that the explanation behind the findings lies in the effect of EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) - an ingredient found in the tea, on mechanisms that encourage cell death (apoptosis) in various cancer cells or a delay in cancer cell thriving. Nonetheless, the researchers note there is insufficient evidence as to whether EGCG can reach the blood stream when consuming less than one cup of Green Tea per day.

    To sum up, the research findings indicate a possible positive and risk-reducing effect of drinking Green Tea (2 or more cups per day) in the incidence of hematologic neoplasms, mainly AML type blood cancer.

    Published on 26.8.2019 in the Cancer Cause & Control Journal

    Click here for the full article.

    Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) May Harm Cognitive Function of Breast Cancer Survivors  

    Researchers from Ohio State in the U.S. examined the influence of PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors) drugs on heartburn caused by GERD acid reflux on the cognitive functioning of non-metastatic breast cancer survivors. These drugs are sometimes given during breast cancer treatment in order to alleviate digestive problems and prevent damage to the stomach lining during treatment of the disease. For research purposes, researchers gathered and analyzed the answers of breast cancer survivors from previous researches to questions relating to the use of PPI drugs, as well as their cognitive functioning. The three researches comprised of a total of 551 women, of which 88 reported using PPI drugs, when two thirds of the women reported using PPI’s for a period between six months and two years. The examinees rated their cognitive functioning from low to high and the side effects related to it (concentration, memory, etc.) before treating their disease and up to four years following it.  

    The results showed that women who used PPI drugs reported 20-29% more severe concentration problems compared to nonusers. No disparities were found in memory problems reported by users and nonusers. In the third research (which comprised of 21 users and 121 nonusers), women who used PPI reported a general decline in their cognitive functioning and their quality of life as a result.

    The researchers concluded that the PPI drug family may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and interfere with the concentration and the quality of life of breast cancer survivors.

    Published on 13.1.20 in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship

    Click here for the full article.