A patient is prepared for an external beam radiation treatment with a medical linear accelerator at the Triemli Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. The device is used for external beam radiation therapy to treat many types of cancer. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally
The number of cancer patients in Switzerland is increasing, mainly due to the ageing population. But the risk of dying from the disease has decreased for both men and women.
This content was published on October 14, 2021 - 16:13 October 14, 2021 - 16:13 Keystone-SDA/sb
Some 23,100 men and 19,650 women were diagnosed with cancer every year between 2013 and 2017, according to the 2021 Swiss Cancer Report, published on ThursdayExternal link . This represented a combined increase of 3,350 new cases compared with the previous five-year period.
This year these figures are estimated to have risen to 26,000 for men and 22,000 for women. Demographic change – a rising number of older people in Switzerland – is behind this increase, the authors said.
Between 2013 and 2017, around 9,400 Swiss men and 7,650 women died from cancer every year. This means that around 30% of all male deaths and 23% of all female deaths were due to cancer.
In all, 21% of annual cancer-related deaths among males were caused by lung cancer, 14% by prostate cancer and 10% by colon cancer. Among women, breast cancer was responsible for 18% of cancer deaths, lung cancer for 16% and colon cancer for 10%. Leukaemia and brain tumours caused the most deaths among children. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death, with 3,200 deaths per year.
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Overall, cancer death rates among women declined by 28% between 1988 and 2017 and by 39% among men.
Low number of new patients
The risk of contracting the disease has decreased in men and remained the same in women for the 2003 to 2017 period. Meanwhile, over the past two decades the total number of boys and young men reported to have cancer rose annually by 0.8%; for young girls and women the figure was 1.8%.
In men, 50.3% of new cases are for prostate, lung and colon cancer, while for women 51.1% are for breast, lung and colon cancer. Leukaemia, brain tumours and tumours from embryonic tissue are the most common cancers in children.
Compared with nine European countries, the number of new cancer patients in Switzerland – for all tumour types – is low for both men and women. Switzerland's mortality rates are the second-lowest for men and the lowest for women, the report found.
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The third Swiss Cancer Report was prepared by the Federal Statistical Office, together with the National Cancer Registry and the Children's Cancer Registry (CRC).
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