Safe in the sun: Free dermatologist melanoma exams across Israel


With the arrival of summer, the danger of skin cancer increases. Every month, an average of 167 Israelis contract this malignancy. Hundreds of health fund clinics representing all four public health insurers are offering free skin examinations by dermatologists and plastic surgeons during National Skin Cancer Awareness Week from Monday, June 24, through Sunday, June 30.

The event is initiated annually by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) and Clalit, Maccabi, Meuhedet, and Leumit Healthcare Services. Anyone can find a clinic near his/her place of residence. Those who go will also be able to purchase sunscreen products at considerable discounts in the health fund’s pharmacy.

Thanks to the national campaign and the increase in public awareness throughout the year, the success rates of early detection in Israel are among the highest in the world. This makes possible better chances for a cure and a dramatic decrease in death from skin cancer.

Thousands of Israelis to be diagnosed with melanoma

According to the ICA, 2,000 Israeli women (40%) and men (60%)will be diagnosed with malignant melanoma of the skin this year. According to Health Ministry data, in 2020, 1,675 new patients with melanoma were diagnosed here, but an absolute majority of 91.9% of patients was diagnosed with an early-stage tumor. This year, 192 women and men died from the disease.

In an international comparison, in descending order from the country with the highest to the lowest rate in 2020, Israel ranked 23rd among the 30 countries with the highest incidence rates (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants) in the world, and last among the 30 countries in mortality rates. That is, in Israel the mortality rates are the lowest in the world.

The Carlton Tel Aviv on the beach (credit: Harel Gilboa)

ICA director-general Moshe Bar Haim said that “besides the security threat, we also continue to fight skin cancer. 

Along with the dramatic importance of early detection, which reduces mortality, it is even more vital to prevent the disease in advance. I urge women and men to reduce exposure.

Being smart in the sun is a lifesaving message for older people as well and not just for children, said Dr. Marina Landau, a dermatologist at the Shamir Medical Center in Tzrifin and Maccabi Healthcare Services who is the ICA’s advisor on skin cancer. 

She added that correct use of sunscreens reduces the damage of sun exposure, and especially the dangers of developing burns and skin cancer, and prevents premature aging of the skin. It is recommended to use broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher in the recommended amount and be sure to reapply according to the instructions.”

It is also important to remember that exposure to the sun should be avoided as much as possible, even if a sunscreen is used.

Sailors, farmers, surfers, swimmers or those who engage in other water sports or work outdoors are by virtue of their occupation or hobby exposed to the sun for a long time and thus at an increased risk of getting skin cancer. 

Even those who are exposed to the sun intermittently, for example on weekends or vacations, are at increased risk of getting skin cancer.

In the risk group for getting skin cancer are people with a large number of moles, people with fair skin, hair and eyes, and with freckles, people whose skin burns easily in the sun, or does not tan at all, those in the family who have multiple moles, or those who have had skin cancer, who have suffered from multiple sunburns, especially in childhood, people taking medications that suppress the immune system or suffering from diseases that weaken it and people taking medications that increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

Many celebrities in the world have revealed in recent years the story of their battle with skin cancer. They not only fought melanoma but also used their experiences to educate the public about the importance of early detection and the need for regular medical checkups. 

Their personal stories serve as a powerful reminder of the critical role of awareness and prevention.

Just recently, American musician and actor Kevin Jonas revealed in a video on Instagram that he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had a cancerous mole removed. 

Model Khloe Kardashian also revealed that a spot on her face turned out to be melanoma that required surgery. 

The Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who has been fighting his skin cancer in recent years, has spoken openly in every interview about his illness and calls on everyone to get tested.

 To make an appointment for a skin examination, call Callit 2700*, Maccabi 3555*, Meuhedet 3833* and Leumit 1-700-507-507 If you were not able to come, you can be tested all year for a reasonable fee. For questions and assistance, contact the  ICA’s teleinformation staffed 24 hours a day by calling toll-free 1-800-599-995 or go to the website at

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