In recognition of World Cancer Day, the Taub Center is publishing a new study: “Trends and Gaps in Morbidity and Mortality from Cancer Within Towns in Israel”.
Taub Center researchers Nir Kaidar, Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, and Prof. Alex Weinreb examined morbidity and mortality rates for cancer in Israel between 2014 and 2018 from three distinct perspectives: at the national level, by gender, and by geographic-town area.
Although the findings indicate improving trends with regard to some types of cancer, there is a distinct rise in lung cancer rates among women. Furthermore, there are differences in morbidity and mortality trends between women and men due to exposure to risk factors and differences in health behaviors like smoking, nutrition, and exercise, among other reasons. Taub Center researchers stress that from the geographic and town level perspective there was tremendous importance in the data analysis, since it affords policy makers a clearer picture of these trends in Israel.
Among towns with a rising rate of new cases of cancer: Kiryat Malakhi and Tayibe
Taub Center researchers compared the latest data (2014‒2018) to previous data from 2011‒2015 and found that, among men, the greatest increase in rates of new cases of cancer was in Kiryat Malakhi, Maghar, Migdal HaEmek, Ma’alot Tarshiha, and Tayibe, while the greatest declines in rates were in Tamra, Zichron Ya’akov, Hod Hasharon, Kfar Saba, and Karmiel. Among women, the five towns with the greatest increase in rates were Kiryat Malakhi, Tira, Akko, Rahat, and Bat Yam, while the greatest decreases were in Beit Shemesh, Sderot, Yokne’am Illit, Ramat Gan, and Ramat Hasharon.
The geographic districts with the lowest mortality rates
Especially low mortality rates were seen in in the districts of Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria, Ramla, Rehovot, and Petah Tikva. National level data indicate a decline in the mortality rates among those under age 45. Between 2012 and 2016 an average of 412 men and women per 100,000 population died from cancer, and between 2015 and 2019, this number decreased to 397.
An advantage for wealthier towns: Higher levels of mortality in less wealthy communities
A look at mortality levels and indices of socioeconomic status reveals that towns with a higher socioeconomic ranking have lower mortality rates than expected from cancer considering their rates of new cases, while in less well-off towns, there are higher than expected mortality rates given their number of new cases.
Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, one of the authors of the research, commented: “Morbidity and mortality from cancer is one of the outstanding challenges facing the healthcare system, including in Israel. The disparities in morbidity and mortality generally reflect the gaps between population groups, but there are also significant gaps from a geographic and town level perspective that are worthy of further study. A better understanding of morbidity and mortality factors – of the influence of the environment, awareness, and health behaviors, as well as access to healthcare services for preventive care, early diagnosis, and treatment – affords better, more targeted interventions with the disease.”