Haifa Has Israel’s Highest Cancer Rates, New Report Says

Cancer has been the leading cause of death in Israel since 1999, accounting for 25% of deaths

FILE Photo: Medical researchers work on a new form of personalized cell therapy against cancer with highly specialized technology in Leipzig, Germany.
Waltraud Grubitzsch/DPA

Haifa has the highest rates of cancer in Israel, the Health Ministry and the Israel Cancer Association said Monday. The incidence in the Haifa area of cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and intestine, as well as lymphoma, are 9 to 14 percent above the national average, the ministry and the health organization said in a report.

Their report related to invasive tumors of these five types of cancer from 2001-05, from 2006-11 and from 2011-15.

Among women in Tel Aviv, the incidence of the types of cancer included in the study was 3 to 6 percent above the national average; among women in Petah Tikva, northeast of Tel Aviv, the incidence of these cancers was 4 percent above the national average.

Among men in Ashkelon, the incidence of these cancers was up to 9 percent above the national average.

In Jerusalem, Acre and the Jezreel Valley, cancer rates were 5 to 16 percent below the national average.

Cancer has been the leading cause of death in Israel since 1999, accounting for 25% of deaths.

Behavioral and genetic elements play a part in the disease’s development, as does lifestyle. It should be emphasized that correlation and causation are not the same thing: It is not yet possible to state that a given location is the cause of disease.

That said, incidence of the disease was high not only in Haifa but also in Ashkelon (men, 6 to 9 percent above the national average), Rehovot (men, 5 percent); Petah Tikva (women, 4 percent); and Tel Aviv (women, 3 to 6 percent).

Relatively low cancer rates were found in Jerusalem (5 to 16 percent below the national average), Acre (women, 6 to 8 percent), and Hadera (6 percent).

Rates of invasive breast cancer were 12 percent above the national average for women in Tel Aviv, compared to 8 percent in Haifa and 9 percent in Petah Tikva. Below-average rates of the disease were found in Hadera (7 to 24 percent below the national average), Acre (13 percent) and Be’er Sheva (9 percent).

Hadera, however, had higher lung cancer rates among men, at 16 to 46 percent above the national average, as did Acre (23 percent above average). Haifa had higher lung cancer rates for women (14 to 26 percent). Jerusalemites had relatively low rates of lung cancer, at 16 to 31 percent below the national average for both men and women; the Jezreel Valley was also relatively healthy, with lung cancer rates that were 18 to 27 percent below the national average.