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.
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.
* 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.
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011) data revealed:
The ICA Mobile Mammography Unit, currently run by Assuta Medical Services, is now in its 18th year of operation across Israel, since 2001.
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).
In 2017, some 40 lectures were delivered, each accompanied by the personal story of a ‘Reach for Recovery’® volunteer and distribution of informational material.
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 is conducted among the general female Israeli population to promote the fight against breast cancer.