The Swiss have the highest skin cancer rates in Europe and come third globally behind Australia and New Zealand, new figures show.
Excessive exposure to harmful UV rays is the main cause; both from the sun and tanning booths, according to a Federal Health Office study.
Every year there are 22 new cases of melanoma in Switzerland for every 100,000 people – a higher rate than in 40 other European countries. Cases of non-fatal melanoma skin cancer are higher: around 160 per 100,000 people.
Cases of melanoma have doubled in Switzerland in the past 20 years. Over the years Swiss have begun spending more time in the sun on weekends and during their holidays, the study notes.
The study showed that people are often not aware of the risks posed by artificial tanning in particular.
According to the study, nearly one in two Swiss women and one in four Swiss men have used sunbeds in the past. A tenth of the population – especially young people – regularly use tanning salons.