Simple descriptive methods (geographical correlation, variance and covariance analysis; gradients of mortality by quantiles; proportionate ratio methods) have been used to characterize the distribution patterns of lung cancer in Switzerland since 1969: Geographical patterns. In males, the temporo-spatial distribution of lung cancer mortality indicates that male smoking became prevalent earlier in the conurbations than in the countryside. The culturolinguistic gap between the German and French/Italian-speaking parts is mirrored by higher lung cancer rates in the latter. For female lung cancer the urban-rural gradient overshadows differences between the linguistic regions. Occupational patterns. The consistency of occupationally associated lung cancer risks within Switzerland is remarkable, even in small occupational groups with only a few deaths, and parallels the patterns known from international statistics. An analysis of lung cancer incidence within the Zurich cancer registry by histological types reveals the same consistent patterns with high risks in blue-collar trades.