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This year, an estimated 228,190 adults (118,080 men and 110,110 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women. It is estimated that 159,480 deaths (87,260 men and 72,220 women) from this disease will occur this year. For all people with lung cancer, the one-year survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least one year after the cancer is detected excluding those who die from other diseases) is 44%. The five-year survival rate is 16%.
Lung cancer represents 14% of all cancer diagnoses and 27% of all cancer deaths. For men, death rates have declined consistently for the past two decades, recently at a rate of about 3% each year. The death rates for women with lung cancer have stabilized since 2003 after increasing for several decades. For unclear reasons, black men have the highest incidence and the lowest survival rates of lung cancer.
These statistics should not be taken as a death sentence. It is important to remember that statistics do not apply to an individual person. No doctor can tell a person how long he or she will live with lung cancer. Some patients with advanced lung cancer can live many years, while others who are told that their lung cancer can be cured do not live as long as patients who are told that their lung cancer is not curable. 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, these estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. Because survival statistics are often measured in multi-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013.