On October 31, 2019, the Israel Cancer Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, published the updated statistics in Israel ahead of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month observed in Israel and worldwide during the month of October. The statistics show that 23,969 women diagnosed with breast cancer during 2012-2016 live in Israel today and have survived or are still coping with the disease. Of those, 21,275 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 2,694 were diagnosed with cancer in situ.
Miri Ziv, ICA Vice Chairman: “We are aware of the vital importance of early detection of breast cancer. Israel is amongst the leading countries in women’s breast cancer recovery rates, thanks to the increase in early detection rates as well as in awareness of the disease and improvement in treatments options. It is important that women take responsibility for their health and adopt a healthy lifestyle, which has been scientifically proven significantly to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. At the same time, women should undergo examination according to age-based guidelines, be familiar with their body and its normal state, and if a change occurs consult their physician and insist on it being checked.”
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 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 Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011) data revealed:
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.
Maintain a healthy, active lifestyle: a third of all breast cancer incidence can be prevented by adopting a healthy, active lifestyle. Studies have shown that there is a link between physical activity and a decline in the risk of developing breast cancer, mainly after menopause. Physical activity reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, independently of the risk factor related to body weight.
Maintain a healthy body weight: in order to avoid obesity and maintain a healthy body weight, it is recommended to find the proper balance between calorie intake and physical activity – “the energy balance.” Overweight and lack of physical activity increase the risk of breast cancer morbidity.
Avoid adopting behavioral patterns that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer: refrain from smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity and alcohol consumption, which have been proven to increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Breastfeeding: it has been scientifically proven that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of developing breast cancer. Aside from the baby’s health, this is another reason why breastfeeding is recommended.