Early Detection
Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Awareness Week


National Program for Early Detection of Skin Cancer

For over 20 years, the Israel Cancer Association has been holding Skin Cancer Awareness Week to raise public awareness on preventing sun damage and early detection of skin cancer.

The public is encouraged to avoid exposure to the sun at dangerous times, use all means of protection, and be aware of the importance of early detection. 

The ICA announced the launch of the 2019 Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Awareness Week from June 17-23. This is the 27th year of the unique campaign initiated by the ICA, inviting the general public to a free early detection screening for skin cancer. The hundreds of check-up clinics across Israel, in collaboration with Clalit, Maccabi, Meuhedet and Leumit health care funds, are manned by dermatologists and plastic surgeons, who will perform skin cancer and melanoma early detection examinations that can save lives.  The list of clinics is 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.

During Awareness Week, the ICA organizes an information campaign through the media, distributes informative material to various public and educational institutions (kindergartens, schools, community centers etc.) 

Ahead of this week, the ICA along with the Ministry of Health published the most updated statistics as of June 2019, showing that in 2016, 1,846 new patients were diagnosed with skin melanoma, mostly Jews born in Israel, Europe and America and 209 people died in Israel as a result of malignant invasive skin melanoma.

These are the most updated statistics as of June 2019, and pertain to the first year of diagnosis. Due to the complexity of data collection, the most updated obtainable information at the National Cancer Registry refers to 2016, but is true to November 2019. 

  • About 154 new melanoma patients are diagnosed every month and about 17 Israelis die each month.

  • There is a moderate yet significant rise in invasive melanoma amongst men.

  • A moderate yet significant rise in melanoma in-situ amongst men and women, which enables greater chances of recovery.

  • 91% of the patients in Israel were diagnosed at a very early stage which improves the chances of recovery.

  • ICA Vice Chair and former Director General Miri Ziv: “We call upon the public to be Sunsmart® all year round in order to reduce the chances of getting sick. Early detection is life-saving, so when in doubt, consult your physician, not just during awareness week, but throughout the year. People with many moles or with a family history of skin cancer should pay special attention and follow up. It is recommended for any person at any age to notice skin changes and if you detect new moles, or a change in existing moles, it's important to consult a physician immediately."

  • 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, presented up-to-date National Cancer Registry statistics and explained: "In 2016, 1,846 new patients were diagnosed with skin melanoma in Israel (1,151 with invasive tumor and 695 with in-situ tumor). This year, skin melanoma comprised 8.3% of all new cases that require reporting to the National Cancer Registry in Israel in Jewish men, 5.5% in Jewish women, 0.9% among Arab men, 0.5% among Arab women, 3.9% among "other" men, and 4.5% among "other" women. Statistics regarding the disease stage at the time of diagnosis exist for 80% of those diagnosed with skin melanoma in 2016.

    Among those, 91% were diagnosed at a very early stage which improves the chances of recovery: nearly half of the patients (47%) were diagnosed an in-situ growth - a growth at a very early stage that has not yet penetrated from the epidermis layer to the skin tissue, which enables higher chances of recovery. An additional 44% were diagnosed with a localized growth, which is invasive (a growth that expands beyond the skin's epidermis) with minimal local spreading. 6% of the patients were diagnosed with regional invasive growth and another 3% with metastatic growth."

    The latest main statistics of the National Cancer Registry, the National Center for Disease Control at the Ministry of Health, prepared by Prof. Lital Keinan-Boker, Dr. Barbara Silverman, Ms. Yehudit Fishler, and Ms. Rita Dachtiar show the following:

  • In 2016, 1,846 new patients were diagnosed with skin melanoma in Israel. Most of the patients were Jews; the morbidity rates among Arabs were very low.

  • The majority (91%) of the patients were diagnosed with in-situ growth; 47% with a localized growth and 44% with a localized invasive growth. Both for invasive melanoma and for localized melanoma, the highest morbidity rates were seen in older ages. The highest morbidity rates were seen in European or American-born Jews as well as Israeli-born.

    Skin Cancer Morbidity and Mortality National Comparison* 

  •  In the past: 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.

  • Today: Australia still leads with a morbidity rate of 33.6 patients per 100,000 citizens, while Israel is ranked number 27 in morbidity rate with 8.3 patients per 100,000 citizens. The lowest morbidity rate is in Malta, with 8 patients per 100,000 citizens, not far ahead of Israel. So in actuality, Israel is ranked number 24 out of 25, considering that some of the countries have the exact same morbidity rate.

  • Today: New Zealand still leads with a mortality rate of 4.8 patients per 100,000 citizens, while Israel is ranked number 20 in mortality rate with 1.8 patients per 100,000 citizens. The lowest mortality rate is in Canada, 1.6 patients per 100,000 citizens, not far ahead of Israel. So in actuality, Israel is ranked number 12 out of 14, considering that some of the countries have the exact same mortality rate.

    *Of the 30 countries with the highest rates in the world.

Who is at a Risk for Skin Cancer? 

  • People with multiple moles (especially more than 20).

  • People with fair, freckled skin, light eyes and blond or red hair.

  • People whose skin burns easily in the sun, or does not tan at all.

  • People whose close relatives have multiple moles or a history of skin cancer.

  • People with a history of frequent severe sunburns, mainly in childhood.

  • People who take immunosuppressive drugs or suffer from illnesses that weaken the immune system (such as Parkinson patients or patients with transplants).

    Early Detection of Moles 

  • In a well-lit room, examine the body front and back. You can use a hand mirror and aim it in front of a larger mirror.

  • It is importat to examine the entire skin surface, including the scalp, between the hair, in skin folds and between fingers and toes. To check the scalp and back, it is necessary to use another person.

  • Remember the number of moles in each area and perform the examination again every 3-6 months. Those who have many moles should take close-up pictures of the mole region for comparison. It is best if the pictures are in color and showing a ruler that measures their size. Also important to note is the date the picture is taken and the area of the body photographed. 

  • Beauty marks or moles may appear on the skin as a flat or protruding brown spot as early as childhood or adolescence.  

    Sunsmart® Behavior 

    The Israel Cancer Association Sunsmart® behavior rules are:

  • Shade - look for shade anywhere outside the house, on the beach or at the pool. Sit under an umbrella, awning or any other cover. Even when in the shade, we are still exposed to the sun rays reflected back to us from the sand, the water (pool or beach), and in the winter - from the snow.

  • Hat - it is recommended to wear a wide-brim hat or a hat with a large visor to protect the ears, the facial skin, the delicate skin around the eyes and the nape.

  • Sunglasses - UV rays can damage the eyes, cause wrinkles in the delicate skin around the eyes, the development of cataract and growths in the skin around the eyes and more. Buy sunglasses with a label that ensures 100% UV protection for the eyes. 

  • Protective long clothing - despite the heat, it is important to cover and protect the body as much as possible. It is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirt that covers the shoulders and arms and knee-high pants at the least. Tightly woven material such as cotton provides maximal protection against UV rays. In the water, it is important to wear a long swimming suit made of sunblock fabric, surf suit or other protective clothing.

  • Safe hours - the most crucial, influential factor in exposure to the sun is the exposure hours. Therefore, it is preferable to avoid sun exposure from 10:00 to 16:00, when UV index levels are at their highest. If you have to go out to the sun during dangerous hours - make sure to adhere to the rest of the Sunsmart® rules. 

  • Sunscreen - sunscreen absorbs or repels some of the UV rays before they damage the skin. There are various types of sunscreen products, but most important to keep in mind is the level of protection they provide. When you are faced with countless brands at the store, look for the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number listed on the label - it should be SPF 30 and up. It is recommended to use sunscreen products with broad range coverage, which offer combined protection against UVB and UVA rays. 

  • Babies up to six-months should not be exposed to the sun at all. To protect babies six-months and up, it is recommended to use broad range products of 30 SPF and up specifically designed for babies and children.

    Remember! Sunscreen does not block the sun fully, and must be used in conjunction with all other protection measures. 

    Sunsmart®  - is a registered patent with the Ministry of Justice under the Israel Cancer Association since 1997, and the ICA holds its exclusive rights under a valid license.