Israelis are living longer and spending more on private health care, but the number of practicing physicians is still dropping, states a Health Ministry report released this week on medical trends over the last decade.

One of the report's most striking findings is a three-year increase in life expectancy for both sexes, with Israeli women living an average of 83.5 years and Israeli men, 79.7 years.

Cancer rates, however, continued to rise, as Jewish Israelis became 6 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer over the past 10 years, with the most prevalent forms being prostate and skin cancer. Cancer rates dropped for Jewish women by 4 percent, though certain forms such as thyroid, uterine, lung cancer and melanoma are still on the rise.

Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Israel, as in most Western countries, though for Israelis over age 75 the leading cause of death is heart disease.

The report's data on cancer rates among Israeli Arabs are particularly alarming. Arab men were 21 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, while women were 11 percent more likely. The most common forms of cancer among Arab men are prostate or colorectal cancer; among Arab women, the most common cancers are breast, uterine or colorectal cancer.

The incidence of gastrointestinal tract disorders - including Salmonella poisoning, whooping cough and chicken pox - also rose considerably between 2005 and 2009.

The rate of people with HIV increased from 3.2 to 5.9 out of 100,000 individuals, while the rate of people with an active form of tuberculosis dropped significantly, from 8.4 to 5 of every 100,000 people.

More people received dialysis treatment, particularly people over 65.

Road casualties decreased, but still, in 2009, more than 300 people were killed in car accidents - about a third of them pedestrians - and almost 32,000 people were injured, around 1,700 of them seriously.

The average Israeli spends only four days a year hospitalized, the lowest figure in the West. In 2008, a quarter of people hospitalized were treated for less than a day. Hospital occupancy was 96 percent, significantly higher than the 75-percent average for developed countries.

Nearly 30,000 Israeli couples used in vitro fertilization in 2008, compared to 18,000 in 2000.

More than 160,000 births were registered last year, a roughly stable rate from a decade before. The rate of stillborns is in line with other Western countries, at 3.8 for every 1,000 births (2.7 per 1,000 for children born to Jewish families and 7.6 per 1,000 for those of Arab families. ) The risk rises in inverse proportion to the mother's education level: 5.3 per 1,000 for mothers with less than 11 years of education, and 2.6 per 1,000 births for those with 13 years or more.

Last year, there were almost 26,000 practicing doctors, a 7.8-percent drop from 2000. There were 8,000 dentists (a 4-percent drop ), 41,000 nurses (a 7-percent drop ) and almost 6,000 pharmacists (an increase of 28 percent ).

One of the report's most striking findings is the spike in private health-care spending - 42 percent of all health-related expenses in 2008, compared to 36 percent in 2000.