Although some scientists have linked chronic use of cellphones with brain cancer, a study by the Health Ministry’s National Cancer Registry has not found any increase in the number of malignant brain tumors among all population groups in Israel over the past two decades, even though their use has multiplied many times.
According to Prof. Lital Keinan Boker, deputy director of the ministry’s Center for Disease Control and head of the registry, there is no evidence to date that the use of cellphones causes cancer in the head, to which the phone is held very close.
Boker spoke on Monday at a press conference organized by the Israel Cancer Association to mark International Cancer Day, which will be observed around the world on February 4. The day was designed to unite the world in raising awareness of cancer in a positive and inspiring way under the heading, “We Can; I Can.”
ICA director-general Miri Ziv said that while Israel leads in the number of new patients per year relative to the average of the other OECD countries, it is below the average in mortality – an achievement credited to early diagnosis and advanced and innovative treatment. The ICA, established 66 years ago, promotes research, prevention methods, improved treatment and rehabilitation of patients and those who have recovered.
In 2015, nearly 30,000 Israelis were diagnosed with cancer, some 26,000 of them with invasive cancer. The most common malignancy in men was lung cancer and in women, breast cancer. New cases were more common among Jewish women than among Jewish men, but equal for Arab men and women. Between 2011 and 2015, 90,000 Israelis were diagnosed with malignancies.
Between 1990 and 2010, the number of new cases of malignant brain tumors in all population groups examined – Jewish men, Jewish women, Arab men and Arab women – remained stable. The same trend was also observed for the most common tumor in this group, glioblastoma. For the entire group of gliomas, tumors that start in the glial cells of the brain or spine, rates were stable throughout the period for three of the four population groups studied: Jewish men and women and Arab women. Only among Arab men was a significant increase seen in the incidence rates between 1990 and 2010.
The survival rate of Israeli children from leukemia is now an impressive 85%.