In these hot summer months when we’re all outdoors and enjoying the sun, it’s more important than ever to protect against skin cancer. While the sun offers us much needed vitamin D, there are also unfortunately many harmful effects of too much sun exposure. In this article we will talk about advances and interesting details regarding Israel and Skin Cancer and answer the question of why Israel’s skin cancer rates are dropping.
There are two types of skin cancer. There is melanoma and non-melanoma. And in over 90% of cases, these diseases are caused by too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. There are more new cases of sun cancer than new diagnoses of lung, breast and colon cancer combined. It is even reported that one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life.
Skin cancer is more common in those with fair skin, but even those with dark skin can develop it. Those with the BRCA2 gene mutation are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, as well as other cancers. One in 400 people carry the BRCA mutation, and unfortunately this is more common in Jews with a rate of one in 40.
According to a 2001 study, the risk of melanoma increases if a person has had more than five sunburns. When detected early though, the survival rate is 98%. This number drops if it reaches the lymph nodes or other organs.
Australia and New Zealand are the countries with the highest rate of melanoma for both sexes. Skin cancer is slightly more common in men than in women.
The good news
Israel used to be one of the countries with the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to the ICA, up to date data shows that Israel has dropped from ranking third in cases of skin cancer. Israel now ranks in 13th place for men, and 20th place for women, which is a huge improvement.
The ICA’s ongoing efforts in raising awareness to the general public are responsible for the drop in skin cancer cases in recent years. Survival rates are also on the increase according to statistics.
The ICA has invested in a Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign to increase awareness and educating the public. They have emphasized how important it is to avoid the sun in the hottest hours of the day and to take measures to protect the skin when being in the sun. Early diagnosis is also essential, which is why it is advised to see a dermatologist every year to screen for the disease.
Israeli researchers are developing ways to block melanoma cells from migrating and spreading. Once scientists understand exactly what is changing in migrating cells and what specific gene is important, they can develop methods to treat it. The US based Cancer Research Institute is now working together with Israeli researchers to help fund this innovation. This will enable the best researchers in Israel to focus on immunotherapy research. Any successful research will impact lives around the world.
As of now though, we must do everything we can to limit our exposure to the sun. Especially during the hottest hours of the day. It is also advisable to cover up as much of our skin as possible. Remember to use sun cream on any exposed skin! (Let us know if you didn’t get our sunscreens!)