Hemato-oncology tourism in Israel: A retrospective review

Keren Hod, Yotam Bronstein, Gabriel Chodick, Ofer Shpilberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Despite the significant increase in medical tourism worldwide, data on medical tourist (MT) clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes are lacking. Many MTs who choose Israel to receive medical services are individuals diagnosed with hematologic malignancies. The purpose of this study was to describe hemato-oncology MTs and to compare their disease characteristics and treatment outcomes to a control group of local (Israeli) hemato-oncology patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS In this retrospective review, we analyzed hospital records of all hemato-oncology tourists and Israeli patients diagnosed and/or treated at the Institute of Hematology, Assuta Medical Center, between 2014 and 2016. MT and local patient demographics, clinical characteristics, and treatment outcomes were compared. MT data were also analyzed according to their commitment to treatment in Israel. RESULTS Data on 110 MTs (median age, 51.0 years; 53.6% women) and 122 local patients (median age, 65.0 years; 41.8% women) diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma were analyzed. The most common hematologic malignancy in both MTs and local patients was NHL (54.5% and 73.0%, respectively). Among MTs, 32.7% were fully committed to treatment in Israel, 32.7% were partially committed, and 34.6% were not committed. In 25.9% of MTs, a review of their biopsy resulted in a more definitive or different diagnosis. The percentage of patients who achieved complete response to treatment was similar among MTs and local patients. CONCLUSION MTs often require a pathologic review of their initial diagnosis and are more likely to present with advanced stages of disease. Treatment of MTs according to the appropriate clinical parameters is expected to yield similar outcomes to those of local patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1320
Number of pages7
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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