Cancer incidence among physicians in Israel

Adi Klein-Kremer, Irena Liphshitz, Ziona Haklai, Shai Linn, Micha Barchana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physicians' occupational environment includes exposures to potential carcinogenic factors on a regular basis. The prevalence of specific tumor types and subsequent mortality are reported to be elevated in physicians. Objectives: To assess the incidence of various cancer types among Israeli physicians of various specialties, as compared with the general population, and to determine the role, if any, of gender and ethnicity. Methods: This historical retrospective cohort analysis incorporated data on Israeli officially licensed physicians and information retrieved from the Israel National Cancer Registry database (INCR). Physicians were divided into five groups: Non-specialists, internists, pediatricians, surgeons, and potentially at-risk specialties. Data were collected retrospectively for the years 1980-2007. Results: The study cohort comprised 37, 789 physicians, of whom 33, 393 (88.37%) were Jews and 4396 (11.63%) were Arabs. Comparing Jewish physicians to the general population revealed higher rates of: A) breast cancer among female specialized physicians, and b) melanoma among specialized male and female physicians. All cancer types were more prevalent in the Arab physicians than in the general Arab population. Conclusions: This study revealed incidences of specific cancer types among different medical specialties as compared to the general population. Hopefully, these findings will prompt changes in the occupational environment of physicians of particular specialties in order to reduce their high risk for cancer occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Cancer incidence
  • Cohort analysis
  • Mortality
  • Specialized physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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