Lung Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

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

This year, an estimated 221,200 adults (115,610 men and 105,590 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 death for men and women. It is estimated that 158,040 (86,380 men and 71,660 women) from this disease will occur this year.

The one-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least one year after the cancer is found. For all people with lung cancer, the one-year survival rate is 44%. The five-year survival rate is 17%. Survival rates depend on several factors, the subtype of lung cancer and the stage of disease.

Of the 15% of lung cancers detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is 54%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, which is its latest stage, the five-year survival rate is 4%.

Lung cancer makes up 13% 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 2.9% each year. The death rates for women with lung cancer have declined 1.9% per year. 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 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, these estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. Because cancer 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 2015.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations and it offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.