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Health threat Swiss men among those at highest risk of testicular cancer

Switzerland comes high up in the list when countries are ranked by occurrence rates


The rate of testicular cancer in Switzerland remains one of the highest in the world, with incidence becoming more common, particularly among younger men, according to statistical evidence.

Recent research by American doctor Manas Nigam at the University of Chicago found that Switzerland had the second highest occurrence rate of testicular cancer averaged out over the last two decades.

Studying more than 18,000 reported cases between 1992 and 2009, the US team found that Switzerland was tied with Norway in second place with 12.7 cases per 10,000 men. Only Denmark (13.7) had a higher incidence rate.

The findings were similar to another statistical study carried out by Ariana Znaor published on the European Urology website last year. This showed the Swiss rate of testicular cancer in 2008 as 9.2 per 10,000 men, behind Norway (9.9) and Denmark (9.4).

The Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten quoted figures from the Swiss National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration as showing the rate among young Swiss men increasing. The trend has been rising from 9.5 cases per 10,000 between 1988 and 1992 to 9.7 between 1998 and 2002 and 10.5 between 2003 and 2007 at 10.5.

Richard Cathomas, deputy chief physician of oncology at the Graübunden Cantonal Hospital confirmed to the newspaper: “Switzerland belongs to the countries with the highest rates of testicular cancer worldwide.” This is even more pronounced in the German-speaking part of the country than in areas bordering Italy. “We do not know exactly why.” 

Possible causes include lifestyle choices such as smoking, cannabis consumption – and even how much cheese people eat. Speculation that mobile telephones could be a possible cause has never been proven.

The research by Manas Nigam showed that Europeans have a greater chance of contracting testicular cancer than Hispanic, Asian or Afro-Caribbean racial groups.

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