In the 90’s, Israel was ranked number 3 in the world after Australia and New Zealand in the number of new patients each year. Thanks to ICA’s vigorous and continuous work, there has been a dramatic change for the better, and today, Israel is ranked 27 out of the 30 countries with the highest rates in the world.
The ICA announces 2020 Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Awareness Week between June 8-14, during which hundreds of skin check-up stations will provide free of charge skin check-ups across Israel, in collaboration with Clalit, Maccabi, Meuhedet and Leumit health care services. This is the 28th year of the unique campaign initiated by the ICA, inviting the general public to a free early detection screening for skin cancer. The check-up stations are manned by dermatologists and plastic surgeons, who will administer the skin cancer and melanoma early detection examinations that can save lives. The list of clinics will be published close to the launching of the campaign in the media channels, on the ICA website and on the Association’s Facebook page found in this link.
According to Miri Ziv, ICA Vice Chairman: “These days, we are all happy to resume a normal routine and go outdoors, but it’s important to remember that uncontrolled exposure to the sun may cause health and aesthetic damages and may even endanger lives. About 150 new melanoma patients are diagnosed every month and about 15 Israelis die of the disease. Personal responsibility is of the highest importance, and we call upon the public, in all ages, to adopt Sunsmart® behavior year round, and by doing so, minimize your risk of getting sick. If you notice a suspicious mole, a new spot or a change in your skin – it is crucial that you check it during Skin Cancer Awareness Week. Pay attention and go for medical follow up as needed.”
Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, Director of the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC) of the Ministry of Health and chairman of the ICA Prevention & Early Detection Committee, reported today the most updated findings accordng to the Cancer National Registry: "In 2017, 1,798 new patients were diagnosed with skin melanoma in Israel (1,096 with invasive tumor and 702 with in-situ tumor). This year, skin melanoma comprised 8.0% of all new cases that require reporting to the National Cancer Registry in Israel in Jewish men and “others”, 5.5% in Jewish women and “others”, 0.7% among Arab men and 0.2% among Arab women.
Statistics regarding the stage of the disease during diagnosis are available for 82% of the total diagnosed with skin melanoma in 2017. Among those, 92% were diagnosed at a very early stage which significantly improves the chances of recovery: nearly half of the patients (47%) were diagnosed an in-situ growth, which enables higher chances of recovery. An additional 45% were diagnosed with an early stage localized growth, which is invasive (a growth that expands beyond the skin's epidermis) with minimal local spreading.
This high rate of skin cancer early detection was made possible due to the extensive, rigorous activity of the ICA, who has begun a targeted activity for skin cancer early detection since the 90’s.”
Ahead of Awareness Week, the ICA along with the Ministry of Health published the latest statistics prepared by Dr. Barbara Silverman, Mrs. Yehudit Fishler, Mrs. Rita Dachtiar and Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, as follows:
In 2017, 1,798 new patients were diagnosed with skin melanoma in Israel. The rates in younger men and women were similar, and from age 55 and up, the rates amongst men increased compared to women.
Among Jews, the highest morbidity rates were seen in European or American-born Jews as well as Israeli-born. The trends of invasive skin melanoma in Jewish and “others” between 1996-2017 in Israel indicate a moderate but clear increase in men (percentage of annual change = 0.65% +) In women, a stable trend was seen throughout the period of 1996-2017.
According to Globocan data of the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the World Health Organization, some of which is based on estimation and not measurement, 287,723 new cases of skin melanoma were diagnosed in 2018. The highest incidence rates were reported in Australia – 33.6 (the age standardized rate per 100,000) and 33.3 in New Zealand. In Israel, however, data shows that the incidence rate is 8.3 patients per 100,000 residents. Israel is ranked 27 out of the 30 countries with the highest rates in the world, but in actuality, is ranked 24 out of 25, considering that some of those countries have the same mortally rate.
As for mortality, according to the latest WHO statistics, 60,712 people died of skin melanoma in 2018. New Zealand still leads with a mortality rate of 4.8 patients per 100,000 citizens and Norway with 3.5, while Israel is ranked 20 with a ratio of 1.8 patients per 100,000 citizens. But in actuality, Israel is ranked number 12 out of 14, considering that some of the countries have the same mortality rate.
It is worth noting that many countries around the world show an increase in the incidence of malignant melanoma, prevalent more amongst men and older age groups. The mortality rates from the disease are more stable, and here too, there is a disparity between men and women and between young and older age groups.
Melanoma of the skin is a growth that develops in the cells (melanocytes) of the skin that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color. The main risk factors for developing skin melanoma are exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds; a history of sunburns, mainly in childhood; multiple moles; light skin and eyes; a family history of the disease, a personal history of the disease, a compromised immune system; advanced age; gender (male), certain genetic diseases (such as Xeroderma pigmentosum) and more. The mahority of melanomas appear on the skin; only 1.25% of melanomas involve other tissue, such as the brain and central nervous system, the eye, mouth cavity, nose and nasal passages (sinuses), kidney, genitals, anus etc. This update only relates to skin melanoma.
As every year, this year too, the Israel Cancer Association acts to promote Sunsmart® behavior from early age. During this time, when we are forced to wait in line outside stores and supermarkets, the importance and responsibility for staying safe is even greater. The ICA prepared accordingly and sent free Sunsmart® kits to kindergartens. The kits are designed for kindergarten children (age 5 and up) and contain coloring books, Sunsmart® stickers, banners and pamphlets for the parents. In recent weeks, thousands of kit were sent to out via special delivery. All kits were especially produced for the ICA thanks to public contributions and with no government funding whatsoever.
Thanks to informational activities run by the ICA, a steady increase in the number of people getting screened for early detection of skin cancer. Along with improving the treatment modalities, an increase was shown in the survival and recovery rates of skin cancer patients.
The ICA will launch an extensive information campaign during the 2020 Skin Cancer Awareness Week, which will focus on the importance of early detection and prevention modes, and warn against the use of sun tanning beds. The information campaign will be features on TV, newspapers, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram and a new infomercial will air on various radio stations entitled, “Hello, this is your skin”, informing the Israeli public – “If you noticed a suspicious spot on your skin, take care of yourself and go get checked for free as part of the skin cancer early detection and prevention awareness week.”
Another ICA radio infomercial entitled “What’s Sizzling?” – nothing sizzles like the sun…adopting the Israel Cancer Association Sunsmart® rules; unprotected exposure to the sun causes wrinkles, spots and skin cancer.”
The ICA publishes the “Bama” journal designed for professionals, doctors, nurses and social workers in the field of oncology.
A new topic is chosen for each edition. Ahead of awareness week, a new journal on skin cancer and melanoma is published, scientifically and voluntarily edited by Prof. Michal Lotem and Prof. Jacob Schachter, which includes articles also written voluntarily by top professionals in the field. The journal is distributed according to a distribution list.