Cancer cases and cannabis use on the rise in Switzerland

Smoking weed has become more common within the past decade. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Cancer incidence in Switzerland is increasing, but fewer people are dying from it.

This content was published on October 29, 2019 - 10:56

In its 2019 health report published on Tuesday, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office noted that nearly 40,500 people were diagnosed with cancer in Switzerland every year between 2011 and 2015. That’s about 2,000 cases more than the annual average five years prior. The increase is primarily due to the fact that the population is getting older.

The risk of dying from cancer, on the other hand, has not increased; in fact, the odds have gone down, reported the statistics office. Within the past 30 years, the standardized mortality rate has fallen by 27% for women and 37% for men. This means that the risk of a woman in Switzerland dying of cancer is now a quarter lower than it was for a woman in the same age group 30 years ago. For men, the difference is even more than a third.

Toking teenagers

The report also shows that cannabis use among adolescents and young adults in Switzerland has increased significantly within ten years. In 2017, 9% of adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 reported having used cannabis in the past month.

Ten years earlier, there were fewer regular cannabis users in this age group (6%). Among young men, the figure in 2017 was 12% – twice as frequent as among young women.

Drinking alcohol is more common among adolescents and young adults than cannabis use. Among 15-24-year-olds surveyed in 2017, 27% said they got drunk at least once a month. Here, too, the proportion was higher among young men (30%) than among young women (24%).

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