Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Planning for the future: cancer incidence projections in Switzerland up to 2019

Elisabetta Rapiti1*, Sandrine Guarnori1, Bert Pastoors2, Raymond Miralbell2 and Massimo Usel1

Author Affiliations

1 Geneva Cancer Registry, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

2 Radiation Oncology Department, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2014, 14:102  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-102

Published: 1 February 2014



Projections of the national burden of cancer play a key role in planning cancer control programmes and investments. We present projections of cancer incidence rates and cases for the period up to 2015-2019 in Switzerland.


Projections were based on cancer incidence data estimated from cancer registries for the 1989-2009 periods and demographic projections of the Federal Statistical Office. Age-specific incidence rates were modelled as a function of age, period-birth cohort using NORDPRED.


Up to 2019 the incidence of all cancers combined is expected to decrease slightly for both sexes. Nevertheless, the overall number of cases is predicted to increase. The number of male cancer cases will increase by 30%, from 20005 in 2005-2009 to 25910/year in 2015-2019. For females the number will increase by 20%, from 16913 to 20359/year in 2015-2019. Changes in the population size and structure will be responsible for most of the increase. Among men, the largest increase is observed for melanoma (+54%), thyroid (+45%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (+43%), and prostate (+37%). Prostate cancer will contribute with 8083 cases, colorectal cancer with 2908 and lung cancer with 2791. For women, cases of lung and oral cavity cancers will increase by +48% and +38%, respectively; those of thyroid by +45% and non-Hodgkin lymphoma by +36%. The sites with the most cancer predicted are breast (5870), colorectal and lung (over 2000 each), melanoma (1341) and corpus uteri (1040). The overall annual cancer burden predicted for 2015-19 is of 46269 new cases in Switzerland.


Substantial investments appear to be needed in Switzerland cancer services to meet and fill absolute increased demand driven by aging population.

Cancer; Incidence; Population-based cancer registries; Projections