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Deathly demographics Cancer causes most male deaths in Switzerland for first time

Elderly patient

A patient at a home in Bern, where people suffering from dementia find a living environment made to measure


A total of 64,964 people died in Switzerland in 2016, 4% fewer than in the previous year. For the first time more men died from cancer than from cardiovascular diseases and the number of people who died from dementia fell. 

The drop in total deaths could partly be explained by the above-average number of deaths in 2015 from the flu and a heatwave, according to the latest Cause of Death Statisticsexternal link, published by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on Monday. 

The declining trend in cardiovascular disease deaths has been observed for several years, the FSO said, and has also been observed internationally. Overall, cardiovascular problems are still responsible for the most deaths in Switzerland. 

Although the total number of deaths from cancer dropped from 17,808 to 17,201, the FSO noted that the number of women dying from lung cancer continued to increase. Cases of breast cancer remained constant. 

Age factor 

The number of people whose main cause of death was dementia dropped across all age categories apart from women aged over 85. In total, 3,975 women and 1,789 men died from dementia, a decrease of over 9%. 

The average life expectancy for women was 85.3 and for men 81.5. 

The reason why people die depends on age. Among young people, accidents and suicide are the main cause of death. 

In Switzerland 3.6 out of 1,000 babies died in their first year, one in 12,000 children died before they turned 16.


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