The new Cancer Care Monitor describes the quality of cancer care in Switzerland for the first time

19.05.2022 | Tobias Keller on behalf of MSD Switzerland

In collaboration with the research institute gfs.bern, MSD Switzerland conducted its first ever representative survey in the population on the quality of cancer care in Switzerland.

The results show that supply security is regarded as good to very good – especially by cancer patients themselves. However, there is considered to be a clear need for action in the areas of prevention and early detection, as well as in psychological support during and after the disease.

People in Switzerland take a lively interest in the country’s health policy. According to the new survey, 80 percent of people are interested in health issues. Around 1,500 people from all over Switzerland took part in the representative survey commissioned by MSD and conducted for the first time by gfs.bern. The most important result: the quality of care for cancer patients is considered good or very good by almost 90 percent of the population.

Good to very good marks for cancer care

Every year, more than 40,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Switzerland. At the same time, fewer people die from tumour diseases than in the past. Accordingly, there are more and more people in Switzerland who are living with cancer or have beaten their disease. In the present survey, 95% of those affected by cancer themselves rated their care situation as good, very good or excellent – and thus even better than the other respondents. The main reasons for this are the good health care system in Switzerland, the wide range of services, the good care provided by the staff, the quality of the facilities, the access to treatment and the unproblematic exchange of information. Thus, the medical and nursing care in the hospital is considered positive by the entirety of respondents (around 80%), and a large majority is also satisfied with the treatment with medication. Only a few of the participants criticised the therapies or the quality of care.

For those personally affected by cancer, support from relatives and specialists are of the greatest importance (84% each). Hospital care (78%), general practitioners (70%) and health insurance companies (66%) are also very important for patients in terms of care and information, followed by exchange with other patients (47%), the Swiss Cancer League (34%), psychologists (31%), Spitex (29%), psychiatrists (23%), self-help organisations (22%) and patient organisations (19%).

The Swiss also appreciate the great efforts being made to research tumour diseases. In the survey, a clear majority of 57% believe in the progress made in cancer research in the past five years; only a quarter of all participants are of the opinion that there have been no or hardly any new scientific findings in recent times. More than half of the respondents are also optimistic about a complete curability of tumour diseases in the future.


Still need for action in cancer prevention, early diagnosis and follow-up care

However, the survey also clearly shows that, on closer examination, there is still a clear need for action. Among all respondents, about 15 percent were dissatisfied with early cancer detection and cancer prevention. Almost a quarter could also imagine better psychological care. Among those affected by cancer themselves, 47 percent would have been happy if their tumour had been detected earlier. In addition, 36 percent would have liked earlier preventive information. For many, the physical, psychological and economic consequences continue to be a problem for years. Thus, 46 percent of those currently affected suffer from the physical consequences and about one third from a reduced quality of life. Even among those formerly affected, 25 to 30 percent still suffer from the loss of quality of life and the psychological consequences. The next of kin struggle with these effects even more than the patients themselves. 10 percent of them have the dramatic feeling that the cancer has destroyed their lives. More than half of those who have cancer now or in the past consider it to be the most formative event in their lives, but 24 percent are of the opinion that the tumour disease has given them a “second life”.

With this comprehensive population survey, it was possible for the first time to obtain a representative picture of the quality of care for cancer patients in Switzerland. On the one hand, the very high acceptance of the current care became clear, on the other hand, weaknesses in areas such as prevention, early detection or psychological care could be identified.

You can download the complete report in German here. In the cockpit (also in German) you will also find the central findings and interactive graphics.

If you have any questions concerning this post, please contact our expert for background information, insights and the methods and models used.

Tobias Keller

Tobias Keller

Project manager and Team Lead Data Analytics