Early Detection
Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer is the most common malignant disease in Israel and the Western world:

 

  • About 4500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Israel each year and about 900 die of the disease. 

 

  • 1 out of 8 women in Israel may develop breast cancer, and the earlier the disease is detected, the higher the chances of a cure - reaching nearly 90%. 

 

  • Israel Cancer Association statistics demonstrate that the number of women who recover from breast cancer is steadily on the rise, thanks to early detection, enhanced treatment modalities and heightened awareness in Israel.

 

  • Miri Ziv, ICA Vice Chairman: "Fear, lack of knowledge, or misinformation regarding breast cancer are factors that prevent many women from taking responsibility for their health, becoming acquainted with their breasts and undergoing early detection exams. About 90% of patients can be cured if the disease is detected at an early stage. Early detection is the most effective proven means of fighting breast cancer."


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  • ICA Recommendations:

 

  • It is highly imperative that starting from the age of 20 you become acquainted with your breasts and to the changes that take place in them. The better acquainted you are with your body, the better you will discern the changes should they occur; the next step is to consult with your physician to clarify the nature of such changes. 

 

  • A manual breast exam should be performed by your physician who specializes in breast examinations.

 

  • Women who are 50 years and older should regularly undergo a mammography screening once every two years.

 

  • Women who are at high risk, who have a mother or sister affected by breast cancer, should be tested once a year, starting from the age of 40, or according to their physician's recommendation. BRCA 1/2 gene mutation carriers are entitled to a breast MRI scan.

 

  • It is important to keep in mind: the earlier the disease is diagnosed - the better are the chances of a cure!

 

  • The Israel Cancer Association invites the female public to contact the 24HR tele-information hotline service for answers to any questions that may have about breast cancer and other cancers, and to receive informative material free of charge.

 

  • ICA, joining the rest of the world, initiates Breast Cancer Awareness Month held in October each year, as part of the national and global breast cancer awareness campaign. The ICA holds many events during this month to increase awareness about this subject.

 

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month activity:

 

  • In October, the ICA launches an extensive public education and information campaign in all the media channels, focusing on the importance of early detection and ways of treating breast cancer. Diverse events are held during the month to increase public awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection, namely: the Estée Lauder Group's Global Landmark Illumination Initiative in collaboration with the ICA, the "Tree of Bras" Art Installation, a Special Flotilla sail with breast cancer patients and surviviors wearing pink T-Shirts, a Motorcycle parade in collaboration with Harley Davidson Israel. 

 

  • ICA encourages women to adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes physical exercise, proper diet, and maintaining a healthy weight - strategies that can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. You may find information about healthy lifestyle choices to maintain good health on the Europa Donna, European Breast Cancer Coalition website.

 


  • The National Mammography Screening Program:

 

More than 20 years ago, the Israel Cancer Association initiated a national program for early detection of breast cancer, which has since been operated with the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with all the health service providers. The program has been funded and monitored for 20 years with the ICA’s help, from population-based diagnostic radiology screening for target groups of women aged 50-75, to surgical procedures and pathological diagnosis and monitoring in oncology institutes for women diagnosed with malignancies.  Until 2013 the program was headed by Prof. Gad Rennert, Director of the Community Medicine and Epidemiology Department at the Carmel Medical Center and consultant to the ICA in the field of cancer control.  The entire national program was initiated by and is coordinated on behalf of the ICA by Miri Ziv, ICA Vice Chair and former Director General.

In 2018, the Executive Board approved funding for a further period to the Ministry of Health to operate a system of targeted registries for quality assurance of the National Program for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in Israel.

  • Summary of the 2017 National Mammography Screening Program 


The ICA-initiated National Mammography Screening Program statistics presented by Prof. Gad Rennert, Head of the National Programs for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer and Colorectal Cancer and Advisor to the ICA, indicate that gaps in mammography compliance rates noted in Arab women have been completely dissipated, and are identical to those of Jewish women, and also demonstrate a narrowing of disparities between different sub-populations in Israel.   
     

  • Current compliance rates in new immigrant and ultra-Orthodox female populations are about 5%-10% lower than those observed among native secular Jewish female populations. 
                                                            
  • In 2001 the percentage of compliance to undergo mammography screenings among Arab women stood at 49%, and today, the compliance rate is similar to that of Jewish women, and stands at about 70%. 
       
  • In 2016, 305,618 women aged 50-74 with no personal history of breast cancer underwent mammography. The result was that 2,822 new cases of breast cancer were detected in this group, comprising 356 cases of non-invasive cancer (DCIS), and 2,466 cases of invasive cancer. 76.7% of the invasive cancers (1,892 cases) did not involve the lymph glands. In other words, 80% of the cases were detected at an early stage.

                                                          

  • Since the beginning of the program, over seven million breast imaging tests have been performed on over one million women, including 200,000 tests done in the mobile mammography unit.

  • For Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017, the ICA published new data on breast cancer in Israel and worldwide.  The data were presented by Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, Deputy Director of the Israel Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Chairperson of the ICA Early Detection Advisory Committee:

  • Breast cancer is the most common type of malignancy among women in Israel (Jewish, Arab, “other”), and accounts for a third of new cases in the two main population groups.  In 2014, some 5,000 new patients were diagnosed with breast tumors: about 4,400 with invasive tumors and about 635 with breast cancer in-situ (localized).

 

  • Incidence: 

 

  • The main incidence is among women aged 50 and over; the highest risk was observed in older women, and it is higher among Jewish women than Arab women.

 

  • The incidence trend of localized breast cancer among Jewish women was stable in the period from 1980 to 1986, followed by a net increase (1991-2014) at varying rates.  In Arab women, this trend has only been observed since 1990, and was stable until 2014.

 

  • Mortality:

  • For the first-time ever, a decrease in mortality rates has also been recorded among Arab women: from 16.0 per 100,000 in 2008 to 11.9 per 100,000 in 2010.  The mortality rates among Jewish females have dropped from 22.6 per 100,000 in 1998 to 17.1 per 100,000 in 2010.  The statistics indicate a downward trend among Jewish women (about 30%) and Arab women alike (about 25%).                                                                 

  • The increase in the incidence of in situ breast cancer and the decline in mortality rates indicate the detection of the disease at its early stages, enhanced treatment and higher chances of a cure. There has been an upward trend in relative breast cancer survival rates, and the current survival rate exceeds 85%.


  • International Comparison:


    According to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) statistics which compare between countries with the highest incidence and mortality rates in the world, it emerged that Israel ranks high in incidence (5th highest), whereas, as far as mortality rates are concerned, Israel ranks lower (9th highest) and shows a downward trend.
     

 

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* Source: EUROCARE-4 European Cancer Registry-based study on survival and care of cancer patients.

 

The relative five-year breast cancer survival rate in Israel for women diagnosed in the period from 2005 to 2009 is one of the highest in OECD countries:  87.5% for Jewish women and 84.4% for Arab women.

Apart from the encouraging data reported in Israel in recent years through the Israel Cancer Association, a survey by the World Health Organization found that Israel leads the European region in mammography compliance rates, while continually bridging the gaps between different population groups within the country. According to WHO, Israel ranks among the leading countries in cure rates on a global scale. 

 

 

  • Declining Trend in Breast Cancer Mortality Rates:

 

The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011) data revealed:

 

  • That breast cancer age-standardized mortality rates, from 1998-2009, decreased from 22.6% in 1998 to 17.4% in 2009.  In other words, a 30% decrease!   

 

  • This proves that thanks to the National Mammography Screening Program initiated by the ICA, and thanks to its information and education efforts, women are diagnosed at an earlier stage, which enables quick and more effective treatment that consequently has live-saving impact.

 

  • Breast Cancer Treatment Coordinators and Patient Navigators:

 

  • The ICA continues to finance special posts for nurses and social workers who work as breast cancer care coordinators and patient navigators during all stages of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. 

 

  • The ICA project's goal is to accompany the breast cancer patient throughout the treatment process, and to provide her with information, support and assistance, thereby significantly easing the burden of coping with the disease. This service is currently provided in many centers across the country. 

 

  • Other centers have already adopted this service and the ICA continues to update personnel. Thanks to the ICA, there is a national network of professionals who maintain regular contact with breast cancer patients and attend to their wellbeing.

 

  • The National Mobile Mammography Unit:

 

The ICA Mobile Mammography Unit, currently run by Assuta Medical Services, is now in its 18th year of operation across Israel, since 2001. 

   

  • The aim of the vehicle is to enable women who reside in remote areas, as well as those who are unaware of the importance of the detection test, to undergo a mammography screening close to home.   

 

  • The overall objective is to improve access to and compliance with this potentially life-saving screening test. In 2013, as a result of the great demand for mobile mammography services, an additional Mobile Mammography Vehicle began to operate. 

 

  • The Mobile Mammography Vehicle operates in collaboration with all healthcare funds.  

 

  • A personal invitation letter is sent to women of the appropriate age in anticipation of the arrival of the mobile mammography vehicle to the designated town, and ads are placed in the local newspapers announcing the mobile's scheduled activity in the area. 

 

  • Due to the demand for the mobile unit’s services, a second unit began operating in 2011.  Both units were operated by professional staff from Assuta Medical Center in collaboration with all health service providers.

  • In 2015, about 30,000 tests were carried out in some 140 different venues all over the country.  In 2016, the older unit was retired.  The provision of a mobile unit from 2015 to 2017 was helped by a donation from the Azrieli Foundation (Israel).

 

  • Regional Early Breast Cancer Detection Stations:

 

  • The ICA continues to assist in operating regional early breast cancer detection stations throughout the country.

 

  • The National Breast Health and Early Detection Awareness Program is conducted among the general female population. 

 

  • Countless resources are invested in diverse population segments such as Arab society, kibbutzim (collective settlements), the new immigrant population, the ultra-Orthodox sector, and other populations.

  • Informational material is distributed in hundreds of thousands of copies in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, and a breast health lecture notes kit has been updated for Breast Health Nurses who lecture throughout Israel on behalf of the ICA.

 

  • Breast Health Nurse Lecture Series on Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer, Healthy Lifestyle, and ICA Activity:

 

  • In coordination with ICA's Health Promoter and Public Information and Education Dept., lectures continue to be delivered by breast health nurses representing the ICA. 

 

  • The nurses deliver lectures to the general population across Israel, to heighten awareness of the importance of breast cancer early detection and the significance of making healthy lifestyle choices which may reduce the overall risk of developing cancer and breast cancer in particular; additionally, these nurses shed light on ICA's noteworthy activity in Israel - for the patients and against the disease.  This program featured lectures in different settings, such as women's clubs, corporate offices, municipalities and local authorities.

  • In 2017, some 40 lectures were delivered, each accompanied by the personal story of a ‘Reach for Recovery’® volunteer and distribution of informational material.

  • Cancer in the Family - Counselling Program for high risk families 



First degree relatives of cancer patients (colon, breast, ovary, prostate gland and melanoma) are at high risk of contracting the disease, and it may be a hereditary cancer. For 26 years there has been an advisory service on familial cancer at the National Center for Cancer Control. This service is provided in collaboration with the Israel Cancer Association and is managed by Prof. Gad Rennert, Director of the Community Medicine and Epidemiology Department at the Carmel Medical Center and consultant to the ICA in the field of cancer control, forming a national unit of Clalit Health Services on this subject. In that period over 12,958 families have used this service, receiving advice at various levels. This National Counseling Service is an important information resource for the public and for decision makers in the health system dealing with cancer.

The National Breast Health and Early Detection Awareness Month

 

The National Breast Health and Early Detection Awareness Month is conducted among the general female Israeli population to promote the fight against breast cancer.

  • In October the ICA launches an extensive public education and information campaign in all the media channels, focusing on the importance of early detection and ways of treating breast cancer.  Diverse events are held during the awareness month to increase public awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection, namely: the Estée Lauder Companies' Global Landmark Illumination Initiative in collaboration with the ICA.
                                                                                                     
  • ICA encourages women to adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes physical exercise, proper diet, and maintaining a healthy weight - strategies that can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  You may find information about healthy lifestyle choices to maintain good health on the Europa Donna, European Breast Cancer Coalition website.

  • Other ICA's Activities regarding Beast Cancer:

 

  • The ICA continues to assist in operating regional early breast cancer detection stations throughout the country. 

 

  • Countless resources have been invested in diverse sectors such as the Arab society, kibbutzim (collective settlements), the new immigrant population, the ultra-Orthodox sector and others. 

 

  • Informational material on breast cancer is distributed in hundreds of thousands of copies in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, and Breast Health Nurses lecture across the country on behalf of the ICA.