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In Switzerland, between 2015 and 2017, around 43'394 people contract each year cancer. This represents 475 people per 100'000 population annually. Men are more affected than women. Among men during this period prostate cancer was the most frequent, followed by lung/bronchus/respiratory tract cancer. Among women during the same period breast cancer was the most frequent, followed by colorectal cancer.

This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

After cardiovascular disease, cancer is the second most common cause of death in Switzerland. As the population ages, cancer will become an even more important subject in the future. With regard to the risk factors related to nutrition, exercise, alcohol and tobacco, the most frequent types of cancer among men and women in Switzerland are bowel cancer (colorectal cancer), breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung/bronchus/respiratory tract cancer.

The most relevant method to demonstrate the impact of measures in the prevention or treatment of cancer is to present the main types of cancer.


The indicator shows the number of new cases, that arise within a given population group at a given time. In epidemiology, the term “incidence” is also used. In the present indicator the rate is the number of new cases per 100'000 population per year. The data by canton and sex are age-standardised according to the European standard population in 1976. Data by age and sex show the crude rates.

The cancer types are determined according to the ICD-10 :

  • C00-43, 45-97: All cancers (excl. non-melanotic skin cancer)
  • C18-20: Colorectal cancer
  • C33-34: Lung, bronchus and respiratory tract cancer
  • C50: Breast cancer
  • C61: Prostate cancer

There are several reasons for spatial or temporal differences between cancer incidence rates in the cantons (environmental factors, diagnostic factors and data availability, etc.). The incidence rates shown should, therefore, be interpreted with caution. The cancer registration law ensures the uniform registration of cancers on a nationwide basis, which will improve the comparability of the cancer burden in all cantons.

The indicator also shows the distribution of types of cancer in %.


  • Swiss cancer data are provided by the NICER foundation (National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration) and the cantonal cancer registers. Following entry into force of the Cancer Registration Act (CRA – SR 818.33) – data from 2016 onwards – the National Cancer Registry (NCR) has assumed this task.

Further information

  • Krebsliga: website (in German)
  • National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration (NICER): website 
  • Schweizerischer Krebsbericht 2015. Stand und Entwicklungen (2016) [Swiss Cancer Report 2015]. Bundesamt für Statistik (BFS), Nationales Institut für Krebsepidemiologie und -registrierung (NICER), Schweizer Kinderkrebsregister (SKKR), Neuchâtel, Zürich und Bern: Report in German, in French, and in Italian
  • Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO): Cancer in Switzerland 2013-2017


Media enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Tel. +41 58 462 95 05

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