Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year. You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu.

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer. Statistics for lung cancer include both small cell and NSCLC. This year, an estimated 224,390 adults (117,920 men and 106,470 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Black men are about 20% more likely to get lung cancer than white men, and black women are 10% less likely to get cancer when compared with white women.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. It is estimated that 158,080 (85,920 men and 72,160 women) deaths from this disease will occur this year.

Lung cancer makes up 14% of all cancer diagnoses and accounts for 1 in 4 cancer deaths. Due to a decrease in smoking, death rates have declined by 38% since 1990 in men and 12% in women since 2002. From 2008 to 2012, the death rates for men with the disease dropped by 3% each year. The death rates for women declined 2% per year.

The 1-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 1 year after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 1-year survival rate for all people with lung cancer is 44%. The 5-year survival rate is 17%. The 5-year survival rate for NSCLC specifically is 21%.

Survival rates depend on several factors, including the subtype of lung cancer, and the stage of disease.

For people with stage IA and IB NSCLC, the 5-year survival rate is about 49% and 45% respectively. It is 30% for stage IIA cancer, and 31% for stage IIB cancer. For stage IIIA NSCLC, the 5-year survival rate is about 14%, and about 5% for stage IIIB. When NSCLC has spread outside of the lungs, it can be difficult to treat. The 5-year survival rate for stage IV NSCLC is around 1%.

Each year, tens of thousands of people are cured of NSCLC in the United States. And, some patients with advanced lung cancer can live many years after diagnosis. Sometimes, patients who are told that their lung cancer is curable do not live as long as those who are told that their lung cancer cannot be cured. The important thing to remember is that lung cancer is treatable at any stage, and these treatments have been proven to help people with lung cancer live longer with better quality of life.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on thousands of people with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with NSCLC. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 1 to 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 1 to 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this