Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell: Statistics

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with NSCLC each year. You will read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses. Statistics for lung cancer include both small cell and NSCLC. This year, an estimated 222,500 adults (116,990 men and 105,510 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 155,870 (84,590 men and 71,280 women) deaths from this disease will occur this year.

Lung cancer makes up 14% of all new cancer diagnoses and accounts for 1 in 4 cancer deaths. Due to a decrease in smoking, death rates have declined by 43% since 1990 in men and 17% in women since 2002.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for all people with lung cancer is 18%. The 5-year survival rate for men is 15%; for women, it’s 21%.

However, 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 the survival rates for people with NSCLC are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017, and the ACS website.

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