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עמוד בית
Mon, 17.06.24

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December 2001
Sophia Eilat-Tsanani MD, Mordechai Sorek MD, Nir Gay MD, Ora Chaimovitch MD, Lev Kulton MD and Hava Tabenkin MD MSc

Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women in Israel and throughout the world. Israeli women aged 50–75 years are advised to undergo a mammographic screening examination every 2 years. However, the lack of a structured referral system is reflected in the low utilization rate of mammography.

Objectives: To describe an innovative program in which family physicians in an urban clinic developed a model framework for referrals, coordinated with radiologists and surgeons, aimed at increasing compliance among women referred for mammography.

Methods: A community-based study was conducted, outside of the regular reception hours, in a neighborhood practice with a population of 527 women aged 50–75. A referral system under the supervision of family physicians was designed, and the women received appointments for mammography at specified days and hours. The results of the examination were sent to the physician who used dedicated time to continue the diagnostic and/or therapeutic process, as appropriate. At the physician’s instructions a research assistant contacted the women who did not keep their appointments and scheduled a second appointment.

Results: In 1993, the year prior to the study, when women referred themselves for mammography, the utilization rate was 9%. During the study year the utilization rate was 77%. Women born in Europe or America had higher compliance rates than women born in Asia or Africa (81% vs. 72%, respectively). Married women were more compliant than unmarried women (81% vs. 70%, respectively). No correlation was found between compliance and age, family history of cancer in general, or breast cancer in particular. Six new cases of breast cancer were detected.

Conclusions: The initiative of family physicians increased the utilization of mammography among women under their care. Family physicians allocated time outside of their regular reception hours for the program. A relatively large number of new malignancies were found, but this impression should be confirmed or negated by a large-scale study using the same methods.
 

August 2001
Liat Lubish, MD, Shragit Greenberg, MD, Michael Friger and Pesach Shvartzman, MD

Background: Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies in women, yet one of the most treatable. Early detection is essential to obtain the desired remission and longevity. Numerous studies have shown that periodic screen­ing for breast cancer can reduce mortality by 20-30%.

Objective: To assess the rates, compliance, character­istics as well as barriers in women regarding mammography screening.

Methods: The study group comprised a random sample of 702 women aged 50 or older from 5914 eligible women in two teaching clinics in southern Israel. Phone interviews using structured questionnaires were conducted.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 61 years. The vast majority of the women were not born in Israel. Sixty-three percent of the women had undergone a mammo­graphy screening, 48% in the past 2 years. Monthly self-breast examinations were performed by 12% of the women in the last 2 years. Significant factors associated with undergoing mammography were: more than 7 years since immigration, married, a higher education level, adequate knowledge about breast cancer and mammography, presence of past or current cancer, and cancer in relatives. The main reasons for not being screened was no referral (54%) and a lack of knowledge about breast cancer and mammography (19%) - conditions easily remedied by physician counseling.

Conclusion: The study suggests that promotional efforts should be concentrated on new immigrants and on less educated and unmarried women.

September 2000
Joel Zlotogora, MD, PhD and Alex Leventhal, MD, MPH

The screening program in Israel for Tay-Sachs disease has proven very successful, giving Jewish couples a choice not to have affected children. The technology of carrier detection is now possible in several other severe genetic diseases that are relatively frequent among Jews. Due to the current confusion, a policy is needed to determine how the TSD screening program should be continued in the Israeli Jewish population. We propose that such a screening program include only mutations agreed by consensus as causing a disease severe enough to warrant the possibility of therapeutic abortion. We also propose that general screening include only mutations that are relatively frequent, taking into account the carrier frequencies in the Israeli Jewish population.

Pesach Shvartzman, MD, Elena Rivkind, MD, Anat Neville, MBA, Michael Friger, PhD and Ami D. Sperber, MD, MSPH,

Background: First-degree relatives of colorectal cancer patients are the largest groups of individuals at increased risk for colorectal cancer.

Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and behavior to disease prevention and colorectal cancer screening among first-degree relatives of colon cancer patients.

Methods: A descriptive, point-prevalence epidemiological study was conducted among 215 first-degree relatives of survivors of colorectal cancer in the southern (Negev) region of Israel. Variables included perceived health status, knowledge about cancer screening, compliance rates with colorectal cancer screening, and interest in participation in early detection programs in the future.

Results: The mean age of the respondents was 47.9111.2 years, and 54% were males. Only 58 (27%) remembered having been encouraged to undergo an early detection test. In the previous year only 15% underwent fecal occult blood tests, while 9% had a barium enema and 14% an endoscopic examination of the colon by sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. A total of 49% of the asymptomatic respondents were unaware of recommendations for screening, and only 38.3% expressed any interest in participating in early detection programs in the future. Only 19% of respondents over the age of 50 and 8% of respondents over age 60 were interested in participating compared with 49% under the age of 50 (P0.0001).

Conclusion: A minority of first-degree relatives of colorectal cancer patients reported having been counseled to undergo screening, although most had seen their family physician in the previous 3 years. Primary care physicians should be more active in informing at-risk patients and encouraging them to undergo periodic screening.

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