Second Cancer Care Survey of Switzerland Shows: Early Detection and Treatment Majorly Significant

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07.03.2023 12:00 Europe/Zurich

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March 7, 2023 – For the second time now, research institute gfs.bern was commissioned by MSD Switzerland to carry out a representative survey of the population regarding the quality of cancer care in Switzerland. The survey was distributed to around 100 people who currently have, or have had, cancer. The topics of early detection and early treatment of cancer were rated important to very important by over 90% of survey participants. The comparison with the first survey also shows that after two years of pandemic, cancer care has resumed normal operations, with chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments up by around 20–25% as compared with the previous year. What’s interesting is that a consistent, national cancer strategy received positive feedback from 84% of participants.

According to the MSD Cancer Care Survey, carried out by gfs.bern for the second time now,
gaps in the provision of cancer care were closed again in 2022. General satisfaction with Swiss
cancer care remains high, which is testament to the high quality of our cancer care system.
1,258 people from all over Switzerland took part in the survey, which was provided in three
languages (German, French, Italian) – either over the phone or online.
Top Results for Hospital Care, Drug and Therapy Provision
Even if interest in health policy is no longer as high as it was last year in Switzerland, it is still
very high at 75% (strong interest or very strong interest). As a result, the quality of cancer care
in Switzerland is rated as exceptional. Above all, hospital care, medication and other therapies
are ranked as very good. Only 4% of respondents thought that cancer care was bad or very

Improvements Required in Speed, Coordination and Support

If we take a closer look at the different elements involved in cancer care, however, there is
certainly room for improvement for various aspects and interfaces. For example, delays
relating to diagnosis, finding specialists and starting therapy were criticized by around 20 to
25% of survey participants. The coordination of various service providers involved with cancer
care and inpatient and outpatient rehab (such as “Spitex” home care services) were only rated
“Good” or higher by about half of respondents. Bringing up the rear with positive responses
from around 45% of participants were the areas of psychological support for people with
cancer and their relatives, support outside of medical care (e.g. professional, legal, familyrelated
matters), and support for relatives acting as caregivers.

Deficiencies in Early Detection, Prevention and Aftercare

Around 100 people (approx. 8%) responding to the survey were affected directly (at the time
of the survey or previously). People with a history of cancer stated that they followed the
treatment guidelines and that they would follow the same treatment regimen again if they
had the choice. They would have been happier if their cancer had been discovered earlier,
however, and if they had received more information about cancer prevention. There was also
some criticism for the coordination of the various actors involved in cancer care, for nonmedical
services and for the support of caregivers. In terms of the person’s individual
difficulties, the physical and psychological impact and a lack of quality of life were mentioned.
It is, therefore, all the more important that Switzerland provides more support in terms of life
after cancer – particularly given the growing population of cancer survivors.

Desire for a National Cancer Strategy

The majority of participants favored a national cancer strategy: 84% would definitely or
probably vote “Yes” if asked. The most commonly cited arguments in favor are – reflecting the
results of the 2021 survey – that Switzerland requires more coordination in the fight against
cancer, and that the prevention and early detection of cancer are also more economic over
the long term. For those affected, it is also important that not every cancer patient has specific
problems. A consistent national strategy would therefore help everyone affected.

(*) MSD Krebsversorgungsmonitor 2022, Krebsversorgung Schweiz: Mehr Koordination gewünscht. gfs.bern. [MSD Cancer Care Survey 2022, Cancer Care in Switzerland: More Coordination Required.] December 2022. Download the full report at: Also available upon request from the Media Spokesperson below.

gfs.bern Research Institute

The research institute that bears overall responsibility for the survey, gfs.bern ag, can draw on a long tradition of empirical social research. Founded in 1959 as the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der empirischen Sozialforschung der Schweiz (GfS), it started operating as a separate business unit of GfS-Forschungsinstitut AG from 1986 with the aim of conducting social empirical research with a focus on politics and communication research. The unit became its own company in 2004 as gfs.bern ag. gfs.bern sees itself as a methodical, full-service provider with clear areas of specialism. The company’s market presence aims to achieve quality leadership in applied social research (in concrete terms: survey research with face-to-face, phone, online, and written interviews) and has been able to maintain this advantage in analysis to political opinion-forming processes for around 20 years. As such, gfs.bern has played a pivotal role in shaping empirical social research in terms of social policy and democratic decision-making processes in Switzerland. gfs.bern also has many years of experience in monitoring politics and policy processes. Holding teaching positions at the universities of Zürich, Berne and Fribourg, as well as at various higher education institutes, means we can contribute our findings to the world of education and to reflect upon our own work in an academic setting. For more information, please visit

Media spokesperson gfs.bern

Lukas Golder Co-Head gfs.bern | Phone +41-31-311-6210

MSD Merck, Sharp & Dohme in Switzerland

In Switzerland, MSD Merck, Sharp & Dohme employs around 1,000 people at five sites in the cantons of Lucerne and Zurich. At our site in Zurich, in “The Circle”, we operate the newly opened global innovation and development hub. Our main therapeutic areas are oncology, infectious diseases, immunology, and diabetes. We also operate a broad portfolio of vaccines for the prevention of diseases in children, adolescents, and adults. Switzerland is part of MSD’s global clinical research program with more than 30 clinical trials annually. At our site in Schachen, we manufacture drugs for global clinical trials and operate a forensic laboratory. MSD also takes local responsibility for the community and has been involved in the “Trendtage Gesundheit Luzern” and the Alliance Health competence. In 2022, MSD received the “Top Employer Switzerland” award for the tenth time in a row.

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Media contact

Dr. phil. Caroline Hobi

Associate Director Policy & Communications | tel. +41 76 511 93 59

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